Voices from Russia

Thursday, 21 June 2018

Two-Thirds of Russians Felt No Impact of Western Sanctions

00 Russian food market. 27.12.14


According to poll results released on Wednesday, most Russians polled by the all-Russia Public Opinion Centre (VTsIOM) (67 percent) felt no impact of anti-Russian sanctions whilst 24 percent of respondents said the restrictions affected their financial position. In its report, VTsIOM said:

The respondents assessed more unambiguously the impact of Western sanctions on their family’s financial position… 67 percent of them didn’t feel their effect. However, there can be clearly seen the share of those who spoke about negative implications… 24 percent across the sample (reaching 36 percent in respondents who assessed their financial position as low).

As the poll suggests, Russians are divided on the benefit or the harm of the sanctions for the Russian economy… 34 percent of those polled believe that sanctions had a beneficial effect compared to 30 percent of the respondents who held the opposite opinion whilst 20 percent of respondents saw no impact of sanctions on our economic development. Responding to a question about positive consequences of the sanctions, Russians noted a boost in the country’s economic development (50 percent) and import substitution (20 percent). Amongst negative implications, respondents singled out growth of prices and taxes (22 percent) and economic decline (9 percent). Generally, the issue of sanctions remains topical for Russians… 57 percent of those polled paid attention to it. In reply to a question about Russian counter-sanctions, 73 percent of respondents said that they supported an unyielding foreign policy without concessions to the West whilst 17 percent of those polled disagreed with that. Most respondents (78 percent) believed that Western countries suffer more from anti-Russian sanctions. Commenting on the poll results, VTsIOM head Valery Fyodorov said:

Almost four years after their imposition, anti-Russian sanctions don’t cause any special fear. Moreover, a considerable part of our respondents sees mostly positive economic consequences in them. Nevertheless, every fourth respondent sees negative implications from the sanctions for their own well-being and for the well-being of their close relatives.

The poll was on 10-11 June 2018. The error margin is 2.5 percent with a 95 percent probability.

In 2014, the EU and the USA imposed sanctions on Russia over developments in the Ukraine and Crimean reintegration with Russia and often broadened and extended them. The EU suspended talks on visa-free travel and a new basic cooperation agreement, imposed a ban on entry to the EU for officials from Russia, and froze their assets, as well as introducing restrictions in the trade, financial, and military spheres. Overall, the EU blacklisted 151 individuals and 37 companies. It imposed sanctions against 20 Russian financial, energy, and defence structures. In addition, the USA imposed a ban on the export of US goods, technologies, and services to the Crimea. It also banned US investments in the Crimea.

20 June 2018




Sunday, 13 August 2017

Why Russians are Losing Faith in Donald Trump


When Donald Trump was running for the office of US President, many in Russia viewed him with cautious optimism. Many saw him as a breath of fresh air compared to the shocking level of Russophobia that underscored Barack Obama’s failed presidency, as well as that put forth in Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign. Recent polls found that this good will is starting to wear off, as Congress seems to be unwilling to let Trump even have the possibility to engage in meaningful détente with Russia. RT reported:

On Friday, state-run pollster VTsIOM reported that research from the end of July showed that 68 percent of Russians are aware of the new sanctions introduced against Moscow by the USA. 32 percent told researchers it this was the first time they had heard about the developments. In the same study, 48 percent of respondents said they expected the new restrictions to cause no changes in Russia’s policies or its relations with foreign nations. A little under a third (28 percent) said that the consequences of the sanctions could be negative, and 9 percent believed that Russia would actually benefit from them. In addition, 29 percent thought it is best to leave the new US sanctions without a reply, whilst 19 percent said they supported a symmetrical response and 9 percent admitted that although they considered reciprocal sanctions necessary, they couldn’t give any specific ideas for such steps. When asked about previous Western sanctions against Russia, 35 percent of respondents said that in their opinion these measures had improved the situation in the country. Just over a quarter (26 percent) said that they thought the West managed to worsen the situation in Russia, and 29 percent said that they saw neither positive nor negative changes. Moreover, 72 percent of poll participants shared the opinion that the Russian authorities shouldn’t push for the cancellation of the sanctions as they’d lift them in due time.

These poll results are in line with the general attitude that Russia requires virtually nothing from the USA and expects even less. Donald Trump became a figure of interest to some in Russia because he promised peace and reconciliation. Any people would naturally favour a foreign leader who seeks peace with them; Russia’s no different from any other country in this respect. However, that optimism faded as stagnation seems to be setting in. Having said that, still, most Russians are somewhat glad that Hillary Clinton, with her openly-hostile policy towards Russia, lost the election.

8 August 2017

Russia Feed


Monday, 3 August 2015

More Russians are Sceptical about Growing Role of Religion in Society

00 orthodox believer with candle 030815


A just-published VTsIOM survey showed that, these days, Russians are more sceptical about the growing role of religion in society than they were 25 years ago, but at the same time, a majority still acknowledged that faith helps them cope with various problems and misfortunes.

“In 1990, a majority of those polled (61 percent) agreed by-and-large that greater religiosity benefits society, in contrast to 31 percent who say so today. Before, 41 percent mentioned positive effects of religion for them personally; now, 33 percent have this opinion. This POV is most frequent among Orthodox Christians and followers of other religions, elderly people, and those from Moscow and St Petersburg. Potential harm from the increase of religious conviction is mentioned far more often these days than decades ago… 23 percent see an unfavourable impact on society (in contrast to 5 percent in 1990) and 18 percent on the individual (3 percent in 1990). There’s been a noticeable increase in the group who believe it should play no role in society (28 percent in contrast to 18 percent in 1990), whilst the number of those who see no impact on themselves personally remained practically unchanged (43 percent and 39 percent respectively)”.

Respondents tend to approve of a new church or religious establishment in their neighbourhood if it belongs to their own religion (48 percent), this degree of support dwindles by half (to 20 percent) if a building for the adherents of other religions is on the agenda. As follows from the opinion poll, over the past quarter-century, the share of those who acknowledge that faith supports them in certain situations has doubled (from 23 percent to 55 percent). Those unable to recall cases in which religion helped them in life are fewer now (33 percent against 55 percent in 1990).

27 July 2015



Thursday, 13 March 2014

Two-thirds of Russians Believe “Crimea and the Eastern Ukraine are Essentially Russian Territory; Russia has the Right to Use Military Force to Protect their People”

00 Ukraine map of unrest. 10.03.14


On 7-10 March, Levada Centre did a survey analysing public reaction to recent events in the Ukraine. Most respondents (53 percent) admit that they’re “not too well-versed” on the Ukrainian events, whilst another 15 percent said that they don’t know what to believe. 47 percent of Russians believe that our domestic media coverage on the Ukraine is “mostly objective” and 16 percent believe that the information supplied by the media is “fair overall”. The overwhelming majority of respondents (67 percent) blame the worsening situation in the Crimea on “radical Ukrainian nationalists”. Another 16 percent of Russians fingered “mafia groups”, and 9 percent fault Crimean Tatar nationalists. Half of Russians… 49 percent… wholeheartedly support the Crimea’s annexation to Russia, another 30 percent “mostly support” this step. Those advising that we should refrain from such an action are 12 percent. In response to a question about why they’d consider sending Russian forces to the Crimea and to other Ukrainian areas legitimate, the majority of Russians (65 percent) stated, “Crimea and Eastern Ukraine are essentially Russian territory; Russia has the right to use military force to protect their people”.

According to another poll conducted by VTsIOM, the approval rating of President Vladimir Putin reached its maximum point over the last three years at 71.6 percent. A VTsIOM statement said, “The previous maximum value of this index was in May 2012 (68.8 percent), immediately after Putin’s inauguration as head of state”.

13 March 2014




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