Staunton, July 6 – Aleksey Levinson, the head of sociological research at the Levada Center, has opened what is slated to be a new monthly column about what polls show Russians are thinking about their country, its domestic situation, and its foreign relations. It promises to provide data that may both please and anger people, the editors of the paper say.
The first article in this series suggests what will be in subsequent ones. In it, Levinson uses the polls his and organizations have conducted to draw conclusions that sometimes are not made when the surveys are reported but that merit attention because of what they say about the future of Russia (novayagazeta.ru/articles/2021/07/06/govoriat-ne-vse-tak-odnoznachno).
In his first such article, the Levada sociologist draws two important conclusions of this kind. First of all, he points out that increasingly Russians do not see the foreign policy Vladimir Putin has been conducting as a primary reason they should support him. Instead, even those who still give him overall approval say they are increasingly negative about his foreign policy
And second, he points out, Russians who have long been more unhappy with the domestic situation which they can observe without the mediation of television are increasingly prepared to blame Putin for what they face. In the past, they blamed only the government itself rather than Putin for domestic affairs.
Levinson does not draw the obvious conclusion from these two developments that support for Putin is softening and that while he still is approved “in general” by a majority of Russians, they are less prepared to back him for either foreign policy or domestic reasons and thus more likely to be looking for changes he seems incapable of making.