Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Fewer than One Russian in Four Thinks Expressing Views at Odds with Kremlin is Unpatriotic, VTsIOM Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 19 – Vladimir Putin has made patriotism the central value of his regime to promote conformist behavior among Russians; but a new poll by VTsIOM finds that while Russians overwhelmingly view patriotism as important, fewer than one in four – only 23 percent – says that expressing views at odds with the Putin government is unpatriotic.

            The poll, a repeat of a similar one conducted by the same agency two years ago, reports that “an absolute majority of Russians consider that anyone who does not feel love for the Motherland cannot be a patriot – 85 percent today, up from 77 percent in 2018 (wciom.ru/index.php?id=236&uid=10167).

            Eighty percent of Russians told the sociologists that those who are involved in corruption cannot be considered a patriot, more than the 65 percent who hold that view of those who avoid service in the military the 64 percent who make that judgment about those who do not pay their taxes. 

            Those with ties to other countries are also suspect: Sixty-four percent say those who dream of moving abroad cannot be as do 57 percent of those who have bank accounts there, 50 percent of those with dual citizenship, and 47 percent who work for organizations classified as “foreign agents” – all of these figures have risen since 2018.

            But, VTsIOM reports, “only 19 percent of Russians believe that those who want to marry a foreigner are being unpatriotic.

            Fifty-nine percent of the samples say ignorance of state symbols is unpatriotic, as do 46 percent about those who don’t take part in elections. But only 23 percent – 12 percentage points lower than in 2018 – say that expressing views which contradict the government’s point of view is an unpatriotic act.

            Only 30 percent condemn public expressions of opposition views, and majorities consider such opinions a private matter, with only a third saying that it should be condemned and fewer than one in five saying that such people should be expelled from the country.

            Russians’ views about patriotism are stricter when it comes to the behavior of government officials. Seventy-nine percent say that “unpatriotic people” should be blocked from serving in the government. 

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