Thursday, January 28, 2021

Nearly Half of Russians Say Foreign Agents Law Intended to Protect Russia from West but Nearly a Third that It is to Block Criticism of the Kremlin

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 26 – Although 49 percent of Russians tell the Levada Center that they haven’t heard anything about amendments to the foreign agents law that allow the authorities to classify individuals as such, nearly half of them say the measure is designed to protest Russia from Western interference, but almost a third say it is to prevent criticism of the Kremlin.

            Older people are more aware of the measure than younger ones, with 68 percent of those aged 18 to 24 saying they haven’t heard anything about a measure rights activists have been decrying as a repressive move, the polling agency says (

            According to the center, “almost half of Russians (48 percent) are certain that the meaning of such laws is the defense of Russia from the interference of the West, but 30 percent hold the view that these innovations are being adopted with an eye to limiting the possibilities of criticizing the authorities.”

            Sixty-four percent of those 55 and over hold the first view, while 38 to 39 percent of those between 18 and 39 hold the second. Presumably if more of the latter knew about the measure, the percentage viewing it as a form of repression against them would be even higher, one reason why the official media have devoted relatively little attention to the issue.

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