Staunton, June 22 – Russians are rational and so won’t protest against the regime if they are certain they will suffer and the regime’s policies won’t change, but they are also emotional and will protest even when the likelihood of repression remains high either because they believe the regime is weakening or feel they have “had enough,” Abbas Gallyamov says.
Russians can see, the former Putin speechwriter who now works as a commentator continues, “that the government is becoming ever more repressive and understand that under conditions of a military time, the regime won’t stand on ceremony in dealing with anyone who protests” (publizist.ru/blogs/112974/43225/-).
They will thus “adapt their plans to bring them into line with reality,” Gallyamov says; but “this doesn’t mean that people like what is going on, only that the majority is frightened and is afraid to demonstrate its unhappiness openly.” But anger in the population is growing and at some point will explode, even as polls show that people aren’t going to protest.
Everyone should remember that throughout 2011, the polls showed that Russians weren’t going to protest; and then Bolotnaya happened. Something similar is likely to happen again, but polls would predict it, only conversations in focus groups where people’s emotions and not just their rational positions are expressed and recorded.
Those who believe that changes in polls will signal when Russians will go into the streets need to recognize that such polls won’t help them but conversations in focus groups may because the former measure only quantitative changes in attitudes toward policies while the latter tap into emotional changes that may actually cause Russians to go into the streets, Gallyamov concludes.