Press release №690
17.05.2007
‘MARCHES OF PROTEST': WHO, WHY and WHAT FOR?

IN BRIEF

MOSCOWMay, 11, 2007. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) submits information about Russians' attitudes to ‘marches of protest' and their participants, what do they think of those participants and militia actions.

Only 5% of respondents identify they have been watching protest actions closely. Other 43% ‘have heard something' about it. 49% are not aware of these ‘marches' at all. And there are 58% of those who have not heard anything about ‘marches of protest' within youth of 18-24 years old

Mainly information about ‘marches of protest' was received via television (as 42% of overall respondents and 65% of Muscovites identify). Less often respondents identified radio and press (7% each). Some got information from friends and relatives (5%). Other 3% got to know about ‘marches' via internet (1% of rural inhabitants and up to 6% in Moscow and St Petersburg).

Only 3% of interviewed say they had comprehensively discussed protest actions with friends/relatives. 13% have noticed this issue in conversations. The majority of 72% have not discussed it at all.

What goals were initiators and participants intend to achieve? 72% were not able to name anything. 8% suppose it was an attempt to draw authorities' attention to certain social problems. 5% think that the purpose was to distract Russians from the real problems and destabilize the state. Other purposes respondents identified were struggle for observance of civic rights and liberties (5%), an attempt to stand out of other political organizations (4%), expressing non-agreement with current state policy (4%), etc.

The overwhelming majority of respondents (95%) can not say what slogans were the ‘protesting' ones advancing. Some said that ‘protesters' wanted fundamental changes of country's policy to be made (1%), lowering housing and communal services rates (1%), wages increase (1%) and pensions increase (1%).

17% of respondents support these ‘marches' (3% of them are ready to participate and 14% are feeling supportive to ‘protesting' but not going to participate). 26% of respondents are opponents of ‘marches' (9% of them think that such actions should be prohibited and 17% do not support these actions, but they admit ‘marches' participants' rights to protest). 30% of the interviewed are indifferent to ‘marches', other 27% are in difficulty with estimating ‘marches' anyhow. Muscovites and St Petersburg citizens are the least supportive to these actions (10% of supporters, 27% of opponents).

In opinion of 27% of respondents the participants of these actions are those who are not satisfied with their lives and authorities' policy. 22% of respondents think these people are having fun this way in their spare time. 11% describe protest actions participants as honest, caring for the country men of principles. 6% say they are mentally unstable, inclined to asocial behavior. Moscow and St Petersburg respondents see ‘marches' participants just as slackers (44%), in other types of population centers they are viewed as residents who are really dissatisfied with country policy.

Whose interests are represented by initiators of ‘marches'? In the view of 24% of respondents they represent the interests of those citizens whose rights were violated somehow. 23% of respondents say ‘marches' represent radical opposition and politicians who are ‘dismissed' from their posts. 13% think ‘marches' represent opinions of many people. 9% say they are organized by foreign special services. 38% are in difficulty to answer. Moscow citizens' position stands out: many of them think that these actions are held to represent interests of oppositional politicians who have been ‘dismissed' (45% of Muscovites against 23% of Russians overall), some Muscovites believe they are organized by foreign special services (26% against 9% in average).

Militia actions are approved by 11% of respondents and not approved by 15%. In Moscow and St Petersburg correlation differs: 20% estimate militiamen actions as right ones and 14% think they were unacceptable. Half of Russians does not know anything about militia activity and one fourth of respondents are in difficulty to answer.

All-Russia opinion poll was conducted by VCIOM, April, 28-29, 2007. 1600 respondents were interviewed in 153 population centers of 46 regions of Russia. The statistical error does not exceed 3.4%.

‘Marches of protest' have been held in Moscow and other cities. Have you heard anything about it?

 

Total respondents

Age, years

18-2425-3435-4445-5960 and older
Yes, I am watching these event closely534365
I have heard something433641504638
Have not heard anything495850434651
Difficult to answer335426
How did you know about ‘marches of protest' (unlimited number of responses)

 

Total respondents

Type of population center

Moscow and St PetersburgMore than 500thousand100-500thousandLess than 100thousandVillage
Television426547394136
Radio799646
Press71211664
Told by friends/relatives564844
Internet364511
Participated personally1-1011
Difficult to answer472840514953
Did you discuss ‘marches of protest' with your friends/relatives

 

Total respondents

Age, years

18-2425-3435-4445-5960 and older
Yes, discussed in detail332343
Yes, we noticed this issue13815131514
No, we did not discuss it727672736971
Difficult to answer121311111212
What purposes do you think initiators and participants of ‘marches of protest' are trying to achieve? (open-ended question,up to two responses)
To draw authorities' attention to certain social problems8
To distract Russians from the real problems and destabilize the state5
Struggle for observance of civic rights and liberties5
To stand out of other political organizations4
Expressing non-agreement with current state policy4
Political race for power2
Personal interests of participants2
There is no definite motivation1
Other1
Difficult to answer72
Have you memorized any slogans of ‘marches of protest'? If so, what are they? (open-ended question, unlimited number of responses)
Antigovernmental slogans. Calls for president Putin and his government resigning1
Lowering housing and communal services rates1
Slogan ‘Decent pension', calls for improving pensioners' living conditions1
Calls for increasing wages, provide decent living conditions1
Other1
Difficult to answer96
What is your attitude to ‘marches of protest' and their participants?

 

Total respondents

Type of population center

Moscow and St PetersburgMore than 500thousand100-500thousandLess than 100thousandVillage
I support these ‘marches' and ready to participate in the future315253
I support these ‘marches' but not ready to participate in the future14915161713
I am indifferent305632233026
I do not support these actions, but admit ‘marches' participants' rights to protest172116151319
I do not support these actions and I think these actions should be prohibited9671488
Difficult to answer27725302731
Who do you think mostly participants of these ‘marches' are?

 

Total respondents

Type of population center

Moscow and St PetersburgMore than 500thousand100-500thousandLess than 100thousandVillage
Those who are not satisfied with their lives and authorities' policy272327282729
Honest, caring for their country men of principles11412121410
Mentally unstable, inclined to asocial behavior6109643
People having fun this way in their spare time224421161821
Other233021
Difficult to answer321628383536
Whose interests do you think are represented by ‘marches of protest' (up to two responses)

 

Total respondents

Monthly income per family member, rubles

Up to 15001501-30003001-50005001 and higher
Interests of many people131816139
Interests of those citizens whose rights were violated somehow248272521
Interests of radical opposition and politicians who are ‘dismissed' from their posts2317202335
Interests of foreign special services9661016
Difficult to answer3852383629
How do you evaluate militia dealing with ‘marches of protest'?

 

Total respondents

Type of population center

Moscow and St PetersburgMore than 500thousand100-500thousandLess than 100thousandVillage
Militiamen activity was correct1120813810
There were quite a few of unacceptable acts151415141814
I do not know anything about militia activity505446475351
Difficult to answer241231262125
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