MOSCOW, March 11, 2009. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data how citizens of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus assess the current financial crisis and its consequences and how different their behavior strategy is in terms of the present economic situation.
Crisis: views, signs, consequences
The most popular opinion among Ukrainians is that crisis is a long-term process and there will not be way out (69%). More than half of Russians (58%) and only 44% of Belarusians express the same idea. On the contrary, Belarus residents mostly tend to forecast a quick end to the crisis and stabilization of the situation (32%). In Russia the share of such respondents had decreased from 33% to 25%; in Ukraine only 17% share this stance.
Respondents divided in opinion on which countries suffered most from the crisis. Russians and Ukrainians consider their own countries suffered most: Russia (since December previous year the share of such respondents had increased from 27% to 43%) and Ukraine (65%) respectively.Belarusians think, first of all, the crisis touched the United States of America (33%).
Ukrainians are mostly concerned about the crisis (62%), among Russians - 56%, in Belarus only every third think so (30%). Belarusians more often than others report that they are worried about the crisis but not so much (44%; the share of such respondents among Russians makes up 31% (in January - 40%), among Ukrainians - 28%) or little worried (17% against 8% among Russians (in January - 14%) and 6% among Ukrainians).
Mainly residents of Ukraine feel difficulties in focusing on their responsibilities due to financial crisis (78%, 26% of them feel it constantly or often, and 28% - sometimes). The part of such respondents among Russians is slightly lower - 48% (7%, 16%, 25% respectively). Residents of Belarus rarer than others report that it got much harder for them to focus on their responsibilities - 41% (5% - constantly, 12% - often, 24% - sometimes). Belarusians mostly tend to think that financial crisis virtually does not distract them from their responsibilities (49%), 41% of Russians and only 17% of Ukrainians think the same.
The main signs of crisis that Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians have faced over the previous two months are inflation, reduction of income and rejection of buying particular goods and services. All the consequences of the crisis pointed above are mostly marked by Ukrainians; 91% report about inflation (among Russians and Belarusians - 85% and 88% respectively), about income reduction - 47% (among Russians and Belarusians - 40% for each), about rejection of particular goods and services - 35% (residents of Russia and Belarus - 25% for each). Ukrainians also point out delayed payments of salaries, pensions, scholarships, benefits (25%, among Russians and Belarusians - 21% and 11% respectively), panic and depression (24%, 14% and 15% among Russians and Belarusians), increase of crime rate (16%, 11% and 6% among Russians and Belarusians respectively), quality deterioration of communal services (16%, among Russians and Belarusians 14% and 3% respectively) . Russians more often than others report dismissals (17%), 13% of Ukrainians and only 8% of Belarusians said so.
Almost equal are the shares of those who experienced such consequences as reduction of working hours and forced vacations (15% among Ukrainians, 13% - among Russians, 12% - among Belarusians); the need to help their relatives and friends (13% among Ukrainians, 12% for each - among Russians and Belarusians), the need to borrow money (12% for each among Russians and Ukrainians, 10% among Belarusians), non-payment of premiums and bonuses (11% for each) and et cetera. Inability to pay on the loan was marked by 8% of Ukrainians , 7% of Russians, and almost twice rarer (4%) by Belarusians. Nevertheless, Belarusians more often report about raising of interest rate on the loan (9%), among Russians - 6%, among Ukrainians - 4%.
Residents of Ukraine more often than its neighbors are forced to save money (67%). 43% of Russians and only 30% of Belarusians have to do so. Belarusians often state that there are some things they economize on and there are some things they do not need to economize on (50%) and there are those who do not economize at all (16%), among Russians the share of such respondents are 37% and 14% respectively, among Ukrainians - 25% and 7% respectively.
First of all, respondents started to save on food, as well as clothes and shoes, both things are mostly reported by Ukrainians (56% for each), among Russians - 50% and 42% respectively, among Belarusians - 45% and 39% respectively. This is followed by leisure and entertainment (34% among Ukrainians, 30% - Russians, 25% - Belarusians), rest and vacation (34% of Ukraine citizens, 29% - Russia, 20% - Belarus), treatment and medication (28% of Ukrainians, 24% of Russians, 15% of Belarusians), communication (22% of Ukrainians, 20% of Belarusians, 17% of Russians), major appliances (22% of Ukrainians, 20% of Russians and 17% of Belarusians), small household appliances (21% of Ukrainians, 15% of Russians and 14% of Belarusians).
Residents of Ukraine more often than others report about savings on utility costs (21%, among Russians and Belarusians - 14% and 12% respectively), luxury items (18%, 14% for each among Russians and Belarusians). Russians more tend to mark reduced expenditure on large purchases (18%, 14% for each among Ukrainians and Belarusians), also they say that they do not need to save on anything in terms of crisis (12%, 7% - among Ukrainians, 1% - among Belarusians). Almost equal are the parts of those respondents who save on transport expenditure (16% among Russians, 18% for each among Ukrainians and Belarusians) and education (6% among Russians, 5% - among Ukrainians, 3% - among Belarusians).
Optimism towards equal job opportunities in case of job loss is mostly typical for Russians - every tenth consider that it will be easy to do (10%), though in Russia this share has decreased from 26% since October previous year. 6% of Belarusians and only 2% of Ukrainians think so. Russians also more often than others consider that it takes efforts to find job (26%, in October-December 2008 - 30%), among Belarusians - 18%, among Ukrainians only 10%. The shares of Russians and Ukrainians who think it is very hard to find job are almost equal (36% and 33% respectively), Belarusians rarer think so (25%). Finally, Ukrainians (34%) twice more often than Russians (17%) think that to find new equal job is practically impossible (among Belarusians - 21%).
Often residents of Belarus plan to save money as they may lose their job (25%), 22% of Russians and 17% of Ukrainians say so. On the contrary, Russians tend not to save money (50%). Only 26% of Ukrainians and 29% of Belarusians express such opinion. There are almost equal shares of respondents who have already started to save up (18-19%). Ukrainians more often than others state that they do not save money, because they are already unemployed (29%), 20% of Belarusians and only 9% of Russians report so.
Crisis and Mass media
Ukrainians more often than others tend to say that the mass media not fully and openly cover the crisis topic (46% against 38% and 41% of Russians and Belarusians respectively). Russians and Belarusians more often say that information provided by the mass media is quite objective and sufficient to understand what happens (29% against 15% among Ukrainians). Belarusians tend to think that television, press and radio often exaggerate the consequences of crisis (22% against 15% of Belarusians and 17% of Ukrainians).
Mass protest potential
Ukrainians show the highest readiness for mass protests. 34% of them are ready to support rallies and demonstrations (Russians - 16%, Belarusians - 10%); 33% are ready to put signatures for petitions (22% for each among Russians and Belarusians); 18% are ready for strikes (in Russia and Belarus the shares of such respondents are 6% and 4% respectively); 6% are ready for the blockade of railway communications, building occupation (2% and 1% among Russians and Belarusians respectively); 4% are ready for armed fighting (2% and 1% among Russians and Belarusians respectively). Belarusians more often than others say that they would not participate in any of these actions (62%); the share of such respondents among Russians is 57%, among Ukrainians - 38%.
If among Russians the dominant position towards authorities is respect (29%), and among Belarusians it is indifference (30%), then Ukrainians feel distrust (72%). Russians almost equally feel both support and distrust towards authorities (26% and 25% respectively), other 17% feel indifference (17%), only 1% express hatred. In Belarus respondents name respect, support and distrust equally (20-21%) and only 3% feel hatred. Every fifth resident of Ukraine show hatred (20%) and indifference (19%) towards authorities. Only 3% of Ukrainian respondents point out respect and support.
The initiative Russian opinion poll was conducted on February 28 - March 1, 2009. 1600 respondents were interviewed at 140 sampling points in 42 regions of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.4%. In Ukraine the opinion poll was conducted on February 17-27, 2009. 2067 respondents were interviewed in 24 regions of Ukraine and Autonomous Republic of Crimea. The margin of error ± 2,2%. In Belarus the opinion poll was conducted on March 3-8, 2009. 1000 respondents were interviewed in all the regions (6 regions). The margin of error 3%.
Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or www.wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM,
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