#1 - JRL 7019
January 15, 2003
THE DISILLUSIONMENT OF NATIONS
People are trusting the army more than politicians or business leaders
Author: Maxim Trudolyubov
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
ALL AROUND THE WORLD, PEOPLE ARE CONSIDERING BUSINESS LEADERS AND GOVERNMENTS TO BE MORE AND MORE USELESS. OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, PEOPLE HAVE COME TO TRUST THE MILITARY MOST OF ALL, FOLLOWED BY NON- GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATIONS. BUT THE SITUATION IN RUSSIA IS CONSIDERABLY DIFFERENT.
All around the world, people are considering business leaders and governments to be more and more useless. Over the past two years, people have come to trust the military most of all. These are the results of the international Voice of the People poll conducted by the World Economic Forum (WEF). The poll was ordered by Gallup Internaitonal and Environics International. Meanwhile, Russian citizens are growing to trust the government and entrepreneurs more and more.
Trust is to be the main topic at the forum of the world elite in Davos. The main institution of a democratic society, a parliament, is trusted the least of all, out of the 17 institutions proposed to respondents. Big business and transnational corporations have about the same rating.
The poll covered over 36,000 people in 47 countries. In Russia the poll was conducted by ROMIR Monitoring. The question was formulated as follows: "Do you have confidence in this institution as one working for the good of society?" President of Environics International Dag Miller has said in this connection, "The world is upside down: decisions are made by the institutions that are trusted least of all. Meanwhile, the most trusted institutions - for example, NGOs - do not have access to decision-making." The military, which is to keep the distance between these two forces, is at an advatage. Confidence in the military is also growing because risks connected with terrorism and new military conflicts are increasing.
Miller notes that the world is becoming less predictable and stable, since confidence in the very basics of democracy is declining.
Meanwhile, results of a poll done among Russians are virtually the complete opposite of global trends. The first place in Russia is taken not by the military, but the education system. About 25-30% of Russian respondents trust the parliament.
Scandals and the deterioration of the economic situation around the world have led to a reduction of confidence in national corporations: for example, in the US the number of their supporters has decreased from 56% to 43%. Meanwhile, in Russia, 23.3% of people trust big business, which is 2% more than two years ago. As for the mid 1990s, ROMIR analyst Alexander Muzafarov notes that people did not differentiate between large companies and organized crime at all at that time. At the same time, people's confidence in heads of national companies around the world has decreased even more than for leaders of transnational corporations. Russians, on the contrary, are still afraid of international companies: people's confidence in them has increased only from 13% to 16%. In generals, "foreigners" - i.e. the World Bank, the IMF, and international corporations - are at the bottom of the list, together with judges. As for the latter, people's trust for them is declining throughout the world.
People's trust for government leaders has considerably declined as well: 40% of respondents believe that they trust their national government less than a year ago. Now people have more confidence in leaders of non-government organizations (56%). Meanwhile, in Russia, people's trust for the federal executive branch has grown from 30% to 43% over the past two years. The National Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) also highlights an increase of public confidence in the government, from 20% to 24%.
(Translated by Kirill Frolov)