#6 - JRL 7006
December 29, 2002
POVERTY IS WORSE THAN A WAR
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
Looking back at 2002, many people recollect it as the year of disasters: the avalanche in the Caucasus, floods, and hurricanes at the Black Sea, and the terrorist act in Moscow.
Hostage-taking, hostage liberation, and the death of many people have greatly influenced Russians: only 16% of respondents say the terrorist act did not affect their emotional state; 52% of respondents say they have become concerned, and 32% of respondents say they "feel anxiety and fear". As for the president's actions for liberation of hostages, 70% of the population estimate their positively, and 21% of respondents are negative about them. Chechnya has turned into a languid disease, the situation "neither the war nor the peace" seems to be bothering none but Soldiers' Mothers committees. The responds of late prove that the population ranges the Chechen war as an "average issue" for Russia: only 12% of respondents say it is the most serious problem; 14% of people say criminality is the greatest problem; 10% of respondents are concerned about the "unemployment threat", and 29% of the population consider as the most serious issues poverty and the growth of prices.
The popularity rating of President Putin has increased over the past year even more: at the beginning of the year, 70% of the population were ready to immediately vote for him at the presidential election; at the end of the year, "85% of respondents estimated his activities positively and only 10% were negative about him."
All sorts of disasters, crises, the authority's inability to resolve them, and the corruption of officials make 39% of respondents say, "at present, our society is in a moral crisis"; 31% of people say "it rather is", and only 19% of respondents say, "the moral crisis is not more serious than usual".
Overall, people are cautiously optimistic about the passing year: 37% of respondents think, "the general economic situation has improved this year against the last year"; 21% of respondents say the general economic situation has worsened this year, and the majority of respondents, 40%, think the economic situation in the country has not changed.