Sunday, December 17, 2023

‘More than 80 Percent” of Russian Residents Satisfied by Relations among Different Religions, but Kremlin Official Says Moscow will Work Until 100 Percent Do

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Dec. 13 – Magomedsalam Magomedov, a deputy head of the Presidential Administration, says that “more than 80 percent” are satisfied with relations among the various religious groups within the Russian Federation but pledged that Moscow will continue to work until 100 percent of the population is.

            His remarks, to the 19th International Muslim Forum, have been widely reported in the Russian media ( But one aspect of them has not attracted any comment so far.

            By saying that 80 percent of Russian residents are satisfied with inter-religious relations, Magomedov has fallen in line with what has become standard Russian practice in Putin times about approval ratings more generally. In Soviet times, the regime reported 99 percent approval in elections; now, the Putin government reports only 80 percent.

            While the 80 percent figure he cites does not reflect reality in the way such a figure would in a democratic society, perhaps it is time to begin to focus not on it or on other near 80 percent figures but on the other “missing” 20 percent and consider where officials are reporting a higher figure and where a lower one and what comprises this fifth of the population.

            For a model of what such research might look like and the insights it might offer, see Jerome M. Gilison, “Soviet Elections as a Measure of Dissent: The Missing One Percent,” The American Political Science Review 62 (1968):3: 814-826.

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