The Putin Feelgood Factor

While many Western analysts and media outlets continue to pour out gloom and doom stories about Russia and to concentrate on minor demonstrations, the fact of the matter is that opinion polls conducted in Russia reveal that a growing number of citizens are happy, satisfied and perfectly willing to support United Russia for the foreseeable future.

In 2003, 100.000 people marched against the Iraq war – and the extremely unpopular Portuguese Government of the then PM, Jose Barroso – in the capital city, Lisbon. The story did not even meet the inside pages of the international press. Yet when a few thousand Russians stage a demonstration in Kaliningrad, the story flies around the international media community for the following two weeks.

Then there are two stories – the myth and the reality. The most recent opinion poll carried out by VTSIOM, the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, published this week, indicates that most Russians are satisfied with their lives.

The number of people who describe their situation as favourable continues to grow, the number of people who describe their life as hard continues to fall and the number of people who say they are living in intolerable stress declines (respectively, from 23 to 31%; 62 to 56% and 14 to 11%). The expression “hope” outweighed “disappointment” and “concern” with a view to describing the day-to-day life in the Russian Federation.

49% felt at worst “indifference”, and at best “confidence”, “tranquillity” and “joy”, while “anger” and “fury” represented only 8% of the 1.600 people who responded to the poll conducted in 140 towns and cities and 42 regions of Russia.

In the recent local elections (two weeks ago), United Russia won an overwhelming majority of the vote (more than twice the second-placed party and more than the three opposition parties put together) with around 50 per cent of the poll.

A recent poll conducted by the insurance company Rosgosstrakh reveals that about 80 per cent of Russians are happy and satisfied with their living standards. A poll among Russian citizens in 138 cities shows that the average satisfaction rate is 78 per cent and that the figures depicting the minimum satisfaction rates exceed 50 per cent.



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Author`s name Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey