Vast Majority of Russians Think Foreign Media Criticize Putin to Weaken Russia – The Moscow Times

The Moscow Times

Oct. 29 2014

By Allison Quinn

The overwhelming majority of Russians view negative foreign media coverage of President Vladimir Putin and of Russia in general as an attempt to destabilize the country, pollster VTsIOM revealed Wednesday.

The poll revealed that 87 percent of respondents see such ulterior motives in critical remarks released by foreign media outlets. A mere 4 percent of respondents said such criticism was intended to improve the country’s situation.

Of the 1,600 people polled, 82 percent said those who condemn Putin’s policies want to see the Russian government’s collapse.

Similarly, 87 percent of respondents said they considered such criticism of Putin to be baseless, while the same number said such comments were a result of the Russian president following policies independently of the rest of the international community.

The role of foreign media has been thrust into the spotlight in recent months amid the ongoing Ukraine crisis, a conflict that analysts say has relied more heavily on information warfare than previous conflicts.

Western media outlets have repeatedly accused their Russian counterparts of unethical, inaccurate reporting, and at times flat-out propaganda. Russia has hit back and accused foreign journalists of the same.

Sixty-eight percent of respondents to the VTsIOM poll agreed with the official line on foreign media, describing it as biased in reporting on the actions of the Russian government, while 20 percent said the reporting was objective.

At the same time, however, more Russians were found to rely on foreign media today than was the case five years ago, with 37 percent stating that they turn to foreign media now compared with 29 percent in 2009.

The poll was conducted from Oct. 25-26 in 132 cities and 45 regions of Russia. It had a margin of error no higher than 3.5 percent, the pollster said.

More Russians Favor Soviet Than Western Form of Democracy, Poll Shows

The Moscow Times

Oct. 29 2014

The majority of Russians believe their country needs a form of “democracy” that is substantially different from that practiced in the West, a recent poll shows.

Asked what form of democracy would suit Russia, if at all, only 13 percent of respondents said that a Western-style democracy could work for their country, and only 5 percent saw it as a necessity for Russia’s development, according to a survey by independent Levada Center pollster released Tuesday.

A more popular choice was the form of “democracy” practiced in the Soviet Union, which was favored as the best option for Russia by 16 percent of respondents.

Questioned specifically on whether Western-style democracies were an option for Russia, 45 percent of respondents said it would be “destructive” for the country, while another 39 percent found it an acceptable option but only in case of “substantial changes related to our country’s specifics,” the poll indicates.

The majority of respondents, 55 percent, said that the only form of democracy that could work for Russia was one that was “completely unique, corresponding to national traditions and Russia’s specifics,” according to the Levada Center report.

The notion of “osoby put,” or special path, has historically enjoyed much support in Russia. According to that concept, Russia has its own, unique path of development, distinct from Western or Eastern trajectories.

Asked to what extent they saw themselves as belonging to a Western civilization, a large majority of respondents, 43 percent, said they did not identify with the West at all. Only 14 percent said Western culture played a role in their lives.

The poll did not specify whether Russia’s “specific” democracy should include fair elections, free speech, independent courts or the freedom to assemble without permission from the authorities — all aspects that have come under stress under the nearly 15-year reign of President Vladimir Putin’s administration.

The poll was conducted on Sept. 25-29 among 1,630 people in 46 regions of Russia. The margin of error was no more than 3.4 percentage points.



Alexander Muzicko hero Majdan with prostitutes

Most Wanted Ukrainian Ultranationalist Killed in Special Operation



KIEV, March 25 (RIA Novosti) – Ukrainian ultranationalist Olexander Muzychko, put on an international wanted list for committing war atrocities in Russia’s Chechnya, was gunned down overnight in an operation by Ukrainian special forces, a senior official in the country said Tuesday.

Muzychko, also known as Sashko Bilyi, was located Monday near a cafe in the western Ukrainian city of Rovno in an operation launched by special forces to neutralize a suspected militant group.

Muzychko, an activist in Ukraine’s radical Right Sector party and an active participant in earlier riots (street protests) in Kiev, attempted to escape through a window and opened fire on law enforcement, injuring one of the officers before being killed by return fire, according to First Deputy Interior Minister Vladimir Yevdokimov.

“Muzychko was shot in his leg, but he tried to return fire. Later when he was kicked down to the ground, he kept shooting and was injured. Doctors have confirmed Muzychko’s death,” Yevdokimov said, according to the Ukrainian UNIAN news agency.

Three other suspected gunmen were detained during the operation.

Earlier this month Muzychko accused the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office and police in a YouTube video of a plot to kill him or capture and hand him over to Russian special services.

Muzychko was put on an international wanted list on suspicion of torturing and murdering at least 20 Russian servicemen in Chechnya in the early 2000s. He was arrested in absentia by a court in southern Russia earlier this month.

Ukrainian prosecutors have launched a criminal case against Muzychko who assaulted staff at a state prosecutor’s office in Rovno last month. Ukraine’s interior minister Arsen Avakov earlier said Muzychko would be punished according to the law.

Right Sector, along with Muzychko, is a major ally of the neo-Nazi Svoboda party led by Oleh Tyahnybok, a member of the new Ukrainian government and an active promoter of the ideas of Stepan Bandera. Bandera, a Ukrainian who collaborated with Nazi Germany during World War II, was involved in mass atrocities in the wartime ethnic cleansing of Poles, Jews and Russians.

Russia has described last month’s uprising in Kiev as an illegitimate fascist coup, which resulted in Moscow taking steps to protect ethnic Russians in Ukraine.

Russians less afraid of sanctions – Kiss My Butt Dahlinks!


“Sanctions against Russia are sanctions against me!” People participate in a rally outside the U.S. embassy in Moscow in early March, when the first restrictions were imposed. Source: RIA Novosti / Evgeny Biyatov



July 30, 2014 Kira Egorova  –  A new survey shows that the number of Russians concerned about economic restrictions imposed by the West is steadily decreasing.
A new poll from the Levada Center has revealed that Russians are becoming less afraid of sanctions. The most recent survey, conducted between July 18-21 after the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, revealed that only 36 percent of Russians were concerned about sanctions being introduced against Russia by the United States and the EU over events in Ukraine. This number is down from early March, when 53 percent of Russians were concerned about sanctions, and April, when 42 percent of respondents admitted to being concerned. The results of the survey also showed that Russians are unconcerned about the possible international isolation of their country. In the most recent poll, 38 percent of Russians were worried about international isolation – down from 42 percent in April and 56 percent in March.
Denis Volkov, a sociologist with the Levada Center, said the results show that Russians have become used to the idea of sanctions. “After the first sanctions against Russia took place, Russians felt fear,” Volkov said. He argues that this fear is now gone, primarily because Russians do not understand the possible effect of sanctions. Additionally, Volkov said, few Russian take the situation seriously because the issue is not being properly discussed on Russian TV.
He argues that this fear is now gone, primarily because Russians do not understand the possible effect of sanctions. Additionally, Volkov said, few Russian take the situation seriously because the issue is not being properly discussed on Russian TV.
Personal ties
Russians are generally offended about the imposition of sanctions. Sixty-six percent of respondents had negative feelings about the decision by the U.S. to introduce sanctions against major Russian companies, including oil major Rosneft, state-owned banks Vnesheconombank and Gazprombank and the country’s defense enterprise while only 28 percent said that they were indifferent to the sanctions.
At the same time, only 29 percent of Russians think that these sanctions will create big problems for the entire country; 35 percent believe that the problems caused by the sanctions will not be too serious and 30 percent are certain these restrictions will not affect ordinary people, the poll showed. In Volkov’s opinion the consequences of the sanctions are unclear for ordinary people: “Russians will change their opinion on sanctions only when they will be able to make a logical link between the adoption of sanctions and a decrease in living standards,” Volkov said. Nevertheless, there is some indication that these attitudes are changing.
The number of Russians who agree that sanctions “really affect only a narrow circle of people responsible for Russian policy regarding Ukraine,” declined slightly from 63 percent in May to 59 percent in July. Accordingly, the number of people who think that restrictions would affect a wide range of citizens has increased – from 24 percent in May to 34 percent in July. Sergei Smirnov, director of the Institute of Social Policy and Socio-Economic Programs at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow said that the delay in understanding the effects should be expected.
“There must be a certain period of time between sanctions taking effect and the first changes appearing in the country’s life,” Smirnov said. In Smirnov’s opinion, Russians will feel the effect of sanctions when the cost of gasoline goes up, when there is a rush to buy dollars, or when they cannot buy some imported goods.
How will new round of sanctions affect Russia?
Sergei Markov, director of the Institute of Political Studies, thinks that Russians may feel differently soon. “Russians may face the effect of the latest sanctions already in September, when business season starts,” Markov said. In his opinion, Russians do not believe that they will be affected by this latest wave of sanctions because they were not affected by previous ones. However, Markov notes, while the previous two waves of sanctions were targeted at specific individuals, the latest wave is focused on key sectors of Russia’s economy. This poll was conducted by the Levada Center between July 18-21 in 46 Russian regions among 1,600 respondents.