Staunton, Nov. 24 – Four years ago, 72 percent of Russians told the Levada Center that social rights were important to them, while only 34 percent said that political rights were. Now, those figures are 75 percent and 61 percent, a convergence that suggests more of them see the two things as interconnected and that the propensity for protests is growing, Elena Galkina says.
This is a remarkable shift in such a short time, the Moscow State Pedagogical University historian says. In 2014, Russians cared far more about medical help and social security than they did about freedom of information and assembly. Now, their support for the two has converged (rusmonitor.com/elena-galkina-protestnye-nastroeniya-sredi-rossiyan-skoree-vsego-znachitelno-silnee-chem-eto-pokazyvayut-oprosy.html).
Russian backing for freedom of conscience has risen from 22 to 36 percent, for the right to access to information from 25 percent to 39 percent, and for freedom to move about from 29 percent to 44 percent. Even the right to take part in protest meetings has doubled from 13 percent to 26 percent.
What this means, Galkina suggests, is that “protest attitudes among Russians are significantly stronger than polls show” because people value not just social supports but their fundamental rights. And that in turn means that they are unlikely to follow blindly the siren song of the Kremlin leader “to sow chaos throughout the planet.”