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Analysts disagree over protest poll

Moscow Protest file photo
Political analysts cannot agree on the meaning of a recent poll showing both growing support and discontent with protests.

The latest poll by Levada Center showed that 42 percent of respondents support the rallies that have been going on since December. It is 11 percent more than in March and close to December's numbers, when 44 percent supported the protests. Forty-seven percent said they were against the protests, and 11 percent could not say.

Economic problems

Some experts stress that raising tariffs, utility payments and alcohol prices could lead to a new wave of protests, while the majority did not notice the government's actions against the opposition.

Discontent is growing with two groups of people ­ one is unhappy about rising prices, the other is unhappy about the new repressive laws, deputy head of Levada Center Alexei Grazhdankin told Kommersant.

Grazhdankin is referring to the law that allows for the blocking of blacklisted Internet web sites and another law that strengthens punishments for participating in and organizing unsanctioned rallies.

People are fed up with protests

However, the figures for protests are still a bit lower than those in December, at the peak of Russian protest activity, director general of the Institute of Priority Regional Projects, Nikolai Mironov, told RIA Novosti.

He argued that the population has no reason to protest because the reforms demanded by the protesters in the end of 2011 have been implemented.

"Of course, there are a lot of unsolved problems that demand further action, corruption, for example. But as we can see, in general in Russia these problems do not cause protests. But the effective work of public organizations is ongoing: demands are made, laws are written, conferences are held. Public activity is not falling."

He added that while there could be a rise in protest activity in September, there would be a steady decline after that.

Higher School of Economics professor and political analyst Oleg Matveichev, however, stressed that the number of people opposing the protests rose together with the number of supporters, which means that the protest movement has no future.

"I think those who say that they support it will not go to the rallies themselves, because they are sick of going 10 times, considering the new laws and dangers on their way," he said.

He argued that the protests were the result of singular events ­ the elections and the inauguration.

"The society is tired of protests: everyone is fed up with everybody walking around and destabilizing the situation in the country. This is why there are more people with a negative view of it," he said.

Keywords: Russia, Government, Protests, Politics - Russian News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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