Monday, March 30, 2020

Deep Split among Russians on Extending Putin’s Time in Office More Significant than It Appears, Yudin Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 27 – A new Levada Center poll showing that Russians are nearly evenly divided on whether Vladimir Putin should be allowed to serve until 2036 is a greater threat to stability than it might seem because these divisions are not so much within social groups as among them, according to Grigory Yudin.

            The Moscow sociologist says that these figures show that “the country is split on a key political question.” Those on the two sides vary by age, media consumption, and on the importance they devote to changing the limits on terms with those opposed far more opposed than those supporting are supportive (

            That is shown by the fact that among opponents those expressing “categorical” disagreement were significantly more than those saying they were “more in disagreement” than not. They thus care a lot, far more than the Kremlin had expected. And that explains why the figures were delayed in being released.

            And that suggests that all the actions of the authorities in the last days must be seen as steps that take these results into account, “including the delay of voting and new taxation” and even the approach to the pandemic because of what the Kremlin saw was becoming a serious political problem for itself.

            “In general,” Yudin continues, “if you want to understand what life will look like after the epidemic, try to focus a little less on the virus and little more on the context in which the virus has appeared.”

            When the Levada Center released this data, Dmitry Badovsky offered important commentaries, the sociologist says. He directly said that Putin needs to change the focus of people from the extension of his opportunity to remain as president, something that has brought fire on himself, and talk more about the other changes.

            The Kremlin leader thus cannot afford to allow a vote on the constitutional amendments to be a referendum on himself.

            “If the split had not existed, you would have seen these statistics long ago. The way in which the polling branch in Russia is organized is such that information on really socially important questions important may not be accessible at the time when it has importance,” Yudin says, adding that he thanks the Levada Center and Vedomosti for pushing this out.

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