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Russian protest potential ebbs

January 24, 2014, 16:01 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The poll has shown 74 percent of Russians believe the rallies achieved nothing, while 50 percent say the protest wave has ebbed
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© ITAR-TASS/Artiom Geodakyan

MOSCOW, January 24. /ITAR-TASS/. Protest moods in Russia are minimal while potential support for opposition protesters also known as ‘white ribbon holders’ are decreasing every year, Valery Fyodorov, the general director of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTSIOM), said on Friday.

“A wave of protests that went very far in the late 2011 subsided early in 2012m leaving only ripples on water surface,” Fyodorov said. The index of public protest potential reached its top (38 points) in December 2011 and February 2012 compared to 31 points in January 2014. This indicator, reflecting how the Russians assess the probability of mass protests in their populated locality, has been minimal over the past five years under review.

The index of personal protest potential is down from 32 points in late 2011 to 28 points in late 2011. The index of public protest potential has dropped to its lowest (31 points) in January 2014 compared to maximum 38 points two years ago.

Protests on Moscow’s Bolotnaya Square and Sakharov Street, according to VTSIOM, have been of little success, and this assessment is growing stronger with years. The share of those who believe that the protesters have achieved their goal has dropped from 13% in 2012 to 10% in 2014. The number of those who believe that they failed to achieve anything has increased from 57% to 74% within the same deadline. On the whole, support for “white ribbon holders” has dropped from 40% in December 2011 to 24% in January 2014.

High School of Economics Professor Oleg Matveichev believes that the Russians are simply disappointed with their leaders. A political reform carried out by the authorities - the introduction of direct elections of governors, facilitation of the process of registration of political parties and the general transparency of elections - has played a vital role in decreasing the level of public support for protest actions.

Matveichev believes that foreign affairs such as the events in Libya, Syria and certainly in Ukraine did not play the last role in changing the public mind.

“People understood that what they saw on Ukrainian Maidan could have easily happened at home if the authorities had failed to react adequately,” Matveichev went on to say.

A total of 1,600 people in 130 populated localities took part in the poll on January 18-19, 2014. The statistical error does not exceed 3.4 percent.

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