Staunton, August 20 – Two out of five (39 percent) of Moscow residents express concern that the video cameras installed during the pandemic violate basic freedoms and the constitution and open the way to authoritarianism and dictatorship, according to a new Levada Center poll (levada.ru/2020/08/20/videonablyudenie-v-publichnyh-mestah/).
An even larger share – 53 percent – say that the video cameras in the Russian capital allow for total monitoring and control and are open to “unscrupulous” use by those with access to the cameras and tapes, the poll found. But at the same time, a slight plurality, 47 percent to 42 percent said the cameras played a more positive than negative role, as an aid to fighting crime.
In presenting the results, Levada sociologist Denis Volkov says that younger people were more opposed to the video monitoring while older people were more acceptant and even supportive. He added that those who oppose the Putin administration also oppose the video monitors while those who support the Kremlin support them.
These results highlight suggest two conclusions: On the one hand, in the city of Moscow at least, using this poll as a measure, the number of Putin supporters and that of Putin opponents are remarkably close. And on the other, those who oppose video cameras and oppose Putin see these steps taken during the pandemic as a continuing threat to their constitutional rights.