Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

No. 1
January 17, 2003
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]

According to polls done out by the National Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the political mood in Russia may be described as apathetic.

If the election were held next Sunday, slightly under half of respondents are uncertain whom they would vote for; 15% of respondents would ignore the election; over 9% would vote "against all candidates"; and 17% of respondents don't know what they would do. People aged between 25 and 54 are the most uncertain about their political choice (44%, against 37% of younger and older age groups) - a sign of rising disillusionment in the idea of elections being able influence people's everyday lives.

At present, there are two favorite political forces: the United Russia party and the Communist Party, each with 17% of supporters, or 28% of the number of those who intend to vote. When asked if they would vote for United Russia at the upcoming Duma elections, 41% of likely voters do not rule it out; most of them are aged between 24 and 39. People between 40 and 54 are less inclined to support United Russia (37% and 56% respectively).

Most respondents consider United Russia to be the pro-government party, and the closer it is to the government, the more voters will support it. If Vladimir Putin's name should appear at the head of the United Russia party list, the number of United Russia supporters would rise by 15-17% across all age groups.

Voters are seeking alternatives - over half of respondents think that Russia needs oppositional political forces. Young people support this view especially strongly (61.1% for, and 18.1% against). At the same time, voters cannot see any such alternatives at present - fewer than a third of respondents would describe any of Russia's present political parties as oppositional. Around 40% of respondents don't trust any of the existing oppositional forces.

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