Almost half (49%) of all Russians believe their country is capable of being competitive in world markets, a new survey conducted by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion has found. Some 42% of the 1,601 persons interviewed countrywide took the opposite view. Younger and better educated respondents tended to be among the optimists.
Among 18- to 24-year olds, the likelihood of achieving world-level competitiveness was endorsed by 59% of those polled, while the figure for Russians over the age of 60 was 39%. Achievement of competitiveness in the next five to 10 years was predicted by 54% of respondents with a higher education, by 51% of graduates of high schools and by 41% of those who did not get beyond primary schooling. At the same time, 75% of those polled who rate their own material situation as good see the achievement of world competitiveness as realistic, while only 35% of those who rate themselves as poor do.
Analysis of the results by political leaning shows that the competitiveness goal set by President Vladimir Putin is most heavily endorsed (61%) by United Russia voters. At the same time, the most 'absolutely' convinced that competitiveness will be achieved within 10 years tended to be supporters of Union of Right Forces. Among supporters of the Communist Party only 29% 'more or less' believe in the practicality of the goal, with 60% expecting it not to be achieved.
When asked what conditions are vital to national competitiveness, the respondents singled out a 'developed, modern economy' (60%), a high national standard of living (47%), powerful armed forces (23%) and a return to former levels of achievement in science and education (17%). Moreover, all social and demographic groups endorsed the importance of a strong economy to the competitiveness goal, again with higher rates among respondents with a higher education (66%) (it was 52% among respondents with primary education only), among those who rate their material situations as average (65%) (59% among those who consider themselves well off and 53% among those who rate themselves as poor). Among residents of cities with populations between 100,000 and 500,000, this factor was endorsed by 53% of those polled.
Those with low incomes (less than 1,500 rubles a month) were more likely to single out social factors as important. Of this group, 54% said the country will be competitive in world terms only if the population enjoys a high standard of living. On this matter, analysis by political leaning found 57% of Liberal Democratic voters most likely to hold this point of view with followers of Homeland least likely (40%).
As to the importance of military strength, men were much more likely to rate it as important than women (31% vs. 16%). Analysis by income-group showed greatest endorsement of this factor by respondents with incomes of 3,001 to 5,000 rubles a month. The political groups out front on this were followers of the Liberal Democrats (32%) and Homeland (30%). Only 16% of followers of the Union of Right Forces (16%) did so. Followers of Irina Khakamada came in at 13%.
The survey was conducted April 17-18 in 100 centers of population across 39 regions, territories and republics of Russia. A margin of error of 3.4% was stipulated.