#7 - JRL 7260
Izvestia (Moscow issue)
July 22, 2003
MOST RUSSIANS MORE CONCERNED ABOUT COMMUNAL SERVICES THAN DEMOCRATIC LIBERTIES
Author: Natalia Ratiani
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]
ASSOCIATION OF THE REGIONAL SOCIOLOGICAL CENTERS CLAIMS THAT THE AVERAGE RUSSIAN IS WORRIED ABOUT COMMUNAL SERVICES MORE THAN ABOUT DEMOCRATIC LIBERTIES AND VALUES. THE ELECTORATE WILL MOSTLY VOTE FOR THE PARTIES THAT OFFER A WAY OUT OF THE VICIOUS COMMUNAL CIRCLE.
Sociologists approached over 10,000 respondents in twenty regions in all seven federal regions. Most respondents are fairly adequate on "their" parties' chances of scaling the mandatory 5% barrier in the parliamentary election.
Over 70% respondents are determined to vote in the parliamentary election in Nadym, Yaroslavl, Khabarovsk, Tula, Krasnodar, Veliky Novgorod, Ulianovsk, and Omsk. The electoral fever has not yet affected both capitals, Saratov, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, and Kaliningrad.
The situation in Kaliningrad is particularly bad from this point of view. 15% residents of the region do not plan to participate in the election at all, almost 11% will probably ignore the election, and 11% more are not convinced that their participation is actually necessary. Residents of Kaliningrad are particularly sympathetic with the United Russia (41%) and Communist Party (30%). At the same time, pro-Western Yabloko and Union of Right Forces polled 13% and 15% enemies and 22% and 20% followers correspondingly.
Generally speaking, residents of Kaliningrad mostly sympathize with the United Russia, but in St. Petersburg the power party polled the minority. Only Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk sympathize with communists.
Defense-oriented, Kaliningrad, Tula, and Samara sympathize with communists and liberal democrats. Residents of Yekaterinburg, Perm, and Kazan mostly sympathize with the Union of Right Forces and Yabloko. The Party of Retirees is unusually popular with residents of these particular regions.
Judging the opinion polls, our compatriots have not revised their political preferences since the last election. On the other hand, the Russians who voted for, say, the Yabloko have better recollections of their choice and the motives behind it than the Russians who voted for power parties.
As for individual politicians, President of Russia Vladimir Putin is the unquestionable leader. At the hypothetical election the majority of votes in the Russian regions would have been cast for Putin (85% voters of the United Russia, 72% of the Union of Right Forces, 73% of the People's Party, and 78% of Seleznev's Party of Russian Revival). Only communist electorate loyally sticks to Gennadi Seleznev (43%). According to sociologists, Putin's rating in the electorates of the Yabloko and LDPR remains fairly low. 50% of pro- Yabloko voters will vote for Putin and 33% for Yavlinsky. 37% of Vladimir Zhirinovsky's followers remain loyal to their party leader and 47% will vote for the president.
Russian voters are virtually unanimous when asked to list three major problems Russia is facing. The electorate is particularly worried by the state of affairs in the communal sphere. 42% are enraged by high prices for the communal services and inadequacy of services. Impoverishment (the problem mentioned in the presidential address to the Federation subject) is the second with 40%. It is followed by poor infrastructure in cities and rural areas (31%) or the same communal services, in other words.
Asked about the worst nationwide problem, however, respondents inevitably mention low living standards.
In short, the party making an emphasis on better communal services may expect additional votes in the parliamentary race.
(Translated by A. Ignatkin)