#20 - JRL 2009-197 - JRL Home

Poll reveals lack of interest in trial of former Yukos boss

Moscow, 26 October: The number of Russians who do not understand charges against former Yukos (oil company) bosses Mikhail Khodorkovskiy and Platon Lebedev is higher than the number of those who understand what the two men are being accused of during the new trial, shows a public opinion poll.

According to the results of the nationwide poll, conducted by the Levada-Centre agency in October and made public in Moscow, two-thirds of those polled (67 per cent) did not understand what the charges were about or found it difficult to answer the question. Compared with previous public opinion studies, the proportion of such respondents had grown by 10 per cent since July.

Asked what Khodorkovskiy and Lebedev were being charged with at present, one-fifth of respondents (19 per cent) said they were confident that investigators had uncovered new facts relating to economic crimes committed by Khodorkovskiy and Lebedev (26 per cent of respondents said the same four months ago). Another 8 per cent of respondents said they thought that Khodorkovskiy and Lebedev were "on trial for what they have already been convicted of earlier". A total of 7 per cent thought that they were being charged with murders and other crimes against the person and four per cent thought they were being accused of attempting to seize power in Russia.

The poll showed that 5 per cent of respondents were satisfied with the current trial. The majority of Russians (79 per cent) are not following the trial or feel indifferent about it. Only 11 per cent of Russians feel bewilderment, anxiety, concern or indignation because of the trial.

According to the poll by the Levada-Centre, on the whole Russians do not believe that the campaign "to fight oligarchs" is a serious one. A total of 23 per cent believe that it was launched in order to take leverage away from them. The majority (51 per cent) said that the authorities had only caused them some fright and put them under control but that they still had influence on life in the country.





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