Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Three Russians in Five Can’t Name Recent Causes to Take Pride in Their Country, VTsIOM Poll Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, April 29 – When sociologists ask Russians to choose among possible answers to their questions, the Russians in almost every case give answers that those being queried believe are what the powers that be want to hear or at least won’t land them in any personal difficulties.

            But when the same pollsters ask open-ended questions, Russians often give answers completely at variance with what one would expect from those when they are selecting from answers that those conducting the survey have prepared. The latest example of this pattern is a VTsIOM poll on how patriotic Russians are.

            When Russians are asked whether they are patriotic, they give the overwhelmingly positive answers the Kremlin would prefer and will broadcast; but when they are asked open-ended questions about what is the basis of their patriotism, the findings point in an entirely different direction.

            Commentator Vitaly Grankin calls attention to what he calls “the paradoxes of patriotism” on the basis of an analysis of the inconsistent findings of the latest VTsIOM survey (rosbalt.ru/russia/2022/04/29/1955929.html; for the survey itself, see wciom.ru/analytical-reviews/analiticheskii-obzor/patriotizm-segodnja-ljubit-zabotitsja-i-zashchishchat).

            After declaring overwhelmingly that they are patriotic, Russians were asked an open-ended question as to whether Russia had had any significant achievements in the last 10 to 15 years that would support those feelings. Eleven percent said there weren’t any, and 48 percent said that if any existed, they didn’t know what they were.

            And among those who did give a reason, almost no one referred to domestic achievements in education or the economy but instead talked about military ones like the Crimean Anschluss, involvement in the war in Syria, and the Victory Day parades in Russian cities.

            Russians really are patriotic as the Kremlin claims, Grankin says, but only half of them are really patriotic and of the half that is, most aren’t so because of their culture or standard of living. What is on offer is only “military patriotism” of the crudest kind.

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