MOSCOW, May 24 (Itar-Tass World Service)
Russians are rather dissatisfied with the low living standards and hiking prices than with vote rigging, the Kommersant cites the results of an opinion poll conducted by the Public Opinion foundation. The number of those who see causes for a growth in the protest movement is on the rise. But, according to sociologists, Russians are rather passive protesters and are not in a hurry to take to the streets.
The question was “What will be your actions if in the near future either opponents or supporters of the current authorities stage rallies in the locality where you live?” The most popular answer was “I will support neither the opponents nor the supporters of the authorities.” A total of 63 percent of the polled answered this way (the figure was 41 percent in the first quarter of 2011). The number of those who said they would take part in opposition rallies decreased to six percent against 16 percent in the first quarter of 2011. As many as seven percent of respondents said they would speak up against the authorities but would not take part in rallies. Ten percent are ready to verbally support the authorities but are not going to take part in rallies either. Only a mere three percent of the polled would take part in rallies to support the authorities (two percent in the first quarter of 2011).
Over a week from May 13 to May 20, the number of Russians dissatisfied with the authorities and ready to take part in protest actions went up from 30 to 37 percent, and the number of those who are not willing to take part in such actions, on the contrary, decreased by five percent (from 64 to 59 percent). Alexander Oslon, the Public Opinion director general, believes that the public moods have been influenced by “vivid” television coverage of protest actions. “People saw the outcome of protest actions and reacted correspondingly,” he said.
Director of the Levada Centre opinion agency Lev Gudkov said he was not surprised at the poll results. In his words, “passive discontent” is characteristic of Russians who are not prompt to take part in street actions.
According to the Kommersant, the number of those who see reasons for expanding protest movement showed an upwards tendency over the week – from 21 to 25 percent. The key reasons for protest are low living standards and poverty (11 percent of the polled), growing prices and inflation (ten percent), and dissatisfaction with the authorities, including with President Vladimir Putin (six percent). Notably, only two percent of respondents see the cause for protests in unfair elections.
“People are worried over prices rather than over unfair elections,” Alexander Oslon explained the polling results. Lev Gudkov, however, noted that there were two types of social discontent, i.e. “of poor periphery” and “of advanced modernized stratum.” The first type is characteristic of rural areas. Although it is aimed against the authorities, it does not seek to change the system, he said, while the “modernized stratum” concentrated in megacities and in big populated localities has no economic claims.