Russian dissident: ‘Only vote that matters in a dictatorship like Russia is Putin’s’
Director of the Levada Center: in Russia, a request for a dictator
In the Russian Federation, 66 percent of the population wants the president to keep his post
MOSCOW – Almost two-thirds of Russians (66%) would like Vladimir Putin to retain the post of head of state after the next presidential election. Another person at the wheel of the country would like to see 18% of the population, and 16% found it difficult to answer. These are the results of a sociological survey conducted by the Levada Center in June this year..
In addition, sociologists found that regardless of who becomes the president of the country in 2018, 42% of Russians were in favor of pursuing the “same line as now” in domestic politics, and 34% are in favor of tougher measures. It seems that liberalism in Russia today is not in vogue – only 12% of the total number of respondents spoke in favor of softening the political line.
At the same time, over half (56%) of the respondents would like the new head of state to pursue the current course in foreign policy, and 19% support the line “towards a tougher confrontation with the West.”.
The Voice of America Russian Service asked Lev Gudkov, Director of the Analytical Center, Yuri Levada, to comment on the results of the research..
Victor Vladimirov: Lev Dmitrievich, what is the essence of the phenomenon – the situation in the country is deteriorating, people’s incomes are falling, and Vladimir Putin’s rating is “stable like the Spasskaya Tower”?
If we take into account the permissible statistical fluctuations, then the attitude towards Putin has practically not changed for quite a long time, and in this sense he is not responsible for the state of affairs within the country..
In the meantime, there is no need to know about it. ”Lev Gudkov: If we take into account the admissible statistical fluctuations, then the attitude towards Putin has practically not changed for quite a long time, and in this sense he is not responsible for the state of affairs within the country. He possesses symbolic authority, which is formed mainly from the assessment of his achievements in the field of foreign policy. In the opinion of the absolute majority of the population, Putin has returned to Russia the status of a great power and is opposing the West, first of all, the United States in their “anti-Russian, Russophobic” policy. And this is perceived by citizens as the main achievement of the president. Because in all other spheres the assessments of his activities are very modest and even negative. He did not achieve success in the economy, did not ensure the country’s exit from the crisis, and achieved almost no effect in the fight against corruption and terrorism. The situation in the North Caucasus seems to be calmer, but still the problem there is far from a final solution. In addition, which is very important, people have an idea that the period of high prosperity and income growth of the population is associated with it (approximately from 2003 to 2012). And there is hope that the picture may repeat itself. That is, the illusions of citizens give stability to their attitude towards Putin, and all discontent and irritation is transferred to the Medvedev government, governors, the State Duma and other authorities..
V.V .: Such stable support guarantees Putin an unconditional victory in the 2018 elections, or nuances are possible here?
Since the political field (in Russia) is absolutely scorched, and there is no noticeable competition on it, people partly recognize this as a natural state of affairs..
In the meantime, there is no need to know about it. ”L.G .: I think that this is undoubtedly a sign that Putin has no alternative. Since the political field (in Russia) is absolutely scorched, and there is no noticeable competition on it, people partly recognize this as a natural state of affairs. Like, it doesn’t matter if you like it, you don’t like it, but this is the reality.
V.V .: In April 2013, 41% wanted another president, now 18. Where did the rest of the dissatisfied disappear??
L.G .: There were more dissatisfied people. Since the fall of 2008, as soon as the economic crisis broke out in the country, Putin’s popularity declined, and dissatisfaction with him, disappointment, and fatigue with him grew. Then about half of the population said that they would like to see another person in the post of head of state, with a different political program. But the effect of the annexation of Crimea worked very strongly here, and on the new wave of patriotic propaganda and confrontation with the West, his behavior towards the peninsula and Donbass was approved by the majority of Russians, and restored his trust and popularity..
V.V .: And where do the Russians get such a craving for a tough domestic policy, what benefits do they see in this??
The poorer people are, the harder they insist on a firm hand policy
In the meantime, there is no need to know about it. ”L.G .: Tough attitudes about domestic politics come from the poorest and least educated groups of the population, mainly from the provinces. The poorer people are, the more they insist on a firm hand policy. This is an indirect expression of dissatisfaction with the situation and at the same time a lack of understanding how to get out of it, as well as a request for a dictator, an authoritarian leader who could restore order and restore justice. Hence, by the way, and the appeal to Stalin.
V.V .: Taken together, the number of supporters of maintaining a hard line towards the West and toughening confrontation with it is 76%. Do people understand where this policy is leading?
L.G .: No, of course they don’t. All causal links have long been severed by propaganda efforts. On the contrary, people are persuaded that sanctions and confrontation with the West are good, they are a stimulus for internal development. Although, of course, everything is exactly the opposite..