Press release №693
21.05.2007
FOREIGN CRITICISM OF HUMAN RIGHTS IN RUSSIA

IN BRIEF

MOSCOWMay, 18, 2007. Recently US State Department has rigidly criticized Russia for human rights violations. Thereupon Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) submits information whether Russians find these accusations reasoned or not.

US foreign policy department's criticism about human rights violations in our country is generally not reasoned, as 47% of Russians think (against 27%). This point of view is dominant (50% against25%) among those who approve President Vladimir Putin's job. Opinions differ (39% against 42%) in group of those who disapprove Putin's job (that is only 11% of Russians)

Then what is the cause of this criticism? Accusation of Russia is just a demonstration of USA dissatisfaction with Russia being independent and sovereign (as 40% of respondents identify) and demonstration of USA traditional preconceived attitude to Russia and Russians (as 27% of respondents identify). In opinion of 16% of the interviewed, this act was to support westernized opposition forces in Russia. And only 14% of respondents identify that human rights in Russia actually are often violated and USA is really worried about that. The idea that criticism's real reason is US dissatisfaction with Russian independence is the most popular among Muscovites and St Petersburg residents. (55%).

US criticism of Russia is considered as an intervention in domestic affairs of our country by majority of Russians (57%). 23% disagree with that, they consider criticism as a normal expressing of opinion in one country (USA) about the situation in the other one (Russia). That serene attitude to criticism is more likely for well-to-do respondents than for financially unsuccessful ones (27% and 19%).

The only point of accusations that the majority (73%) of Russians confirms is hazing in the armed forces (‘dedovshina'). Respondents also quite often agree (38% against 31%) with US stating that the arrested are jeopardized to torture, violence, and other brutal or humiliating treatment by security forces. The parts of those who agree and disagree with statement of political pressure on the judiciary in Russia are equal (33% each).

Russians most likely disagree with other points of the report. The most unfair accusation is one of limited electoral rights of residents (for 62%), restriction of freedom of speech (62%), discrimination of national, ethnic, and religious minorities (57%).

All-Russia opinion poll was conducted by VCIOM, May, 5-6, 2007. 1600 respondents were interviewed in 153 population centers of 46 regions of Russia. The statistical error does not exceed 3.4%.

Recently Russia was rigidly criticized for human rights violations by USA Department of State report. How reasoned is criticism in general?

 

Total respondents

Approving/disapproving Vladimir Putin's job

ApprovingDissaprovingIn difficulty with estimating
Certainly reasoned65137
Somewhat reasoned21202922
Somewhat not reasoned30322622
Certainly not reasoned17181313
Difficult to answer26251936
Why did USA Department of State criticize Russia? (Up to two responses)

 

Total respondents

Type of population center

Moscow and St PetersburgMore than 500thousand100-500thousandLess than 100thousandVillage
Human rights in Russia are often violated and USA is really worried about that141116201512
To support westernized opposition forces in Russia162618151513
Because of USA traditional preconceived attitude to Russia and Russians273125252628
Because the USA are dissatisfied with Russia being independent and they are just looking for an excuse to discredit our country.405535393542
Other112221
Difficult to answer14716131616
How do you evaluate USA criticism addressed to Russia?

 

Total respondents

Financial status

Very good, goodAverageBad, very bad
It is a normal expressing of opinion in one country (USA) about the situation in the other one (Russia)23272519
It is an intervention in domestic affairs of our country57505761
Difficult to answer20231820
Do you agree with the following accusations of Russian officials...? (one response per each line)
 Rather agreeRather disagreeDifficult to answer
Freedom of speech restriction, government pressure on the media266212
Applying excessive force in dealing with meetings and demonstrations285319
Torture and brutal or humiliating treatment by security forces of the arrested383131
Hazing in the armed forces731710
Unlawful interference in private life of residents. (violation of privacy of correspondence, tapping of telephone conversations)264628
Limitation of residents' electoral rights206218
Political pressure on the judiciary333334
Discrimination of national, ethnic, and religious minorities205723

  Results of our study
  Ratings
  In focus
  News