Interfax: Poll: Western-style democracy won’t work for Russia

Map of Russia

(Interfax – October 28, 2014) Russians are prone to describe the Western democratic model as unviable under the Russian conditions but exhibit an interest in the life and work in Western countries, sociologists told Interfax.

Fifty-five percent of 1,630 respondents polled by the Levada Center in 134 populated localities in 46 regions in September said Russia needed a special type of democracy if any to fit the country’s national traditions and its distinctive lifestyle.

Their number has grown from 34 percent in August 2013.

Meanwhile, 16 percent of the respondents argued that Soviet-style democracy would have fitted Russia, 13 percent suggested relying on the experience of developed European and American nations (their number halved from 26 percent in August 2013), 5 percent said democracy would fail to meet Russia’s needs, and 11 percent were undecided.

Speaking of the Western democratic model, a relative majority (45 percent) said it would be inappropriate or even harmful for Russia. Over a third (39 percent) said that model had some potential but sizable transformations would be required to support it. Only 5 percent argued that the experience of Western states was necessary for Russia’s development, and 11 percent could not give an answer.

Almost two-thirds (64 percent) of Russians are confident that relations with the West will always be based on mistrust. A quarter (26 percent) offered the opposite opinion, and 10 percent failed to answer the sociologists’ question.

Forty-three percent of the respondents said they were not interested in the life and work in the West. Forty-nine percent claimed the opposite: 20 percent said they might think about moving abroad for a better life, and 19 percent wanted to give a future to their children.

Fifteen percent of respondents were thinking about a life abroad as they wished to protect themselves from the actions of the authorities. Fourteen percent mentioned better working and business conditions, broader guarantees of healthcare and pensions and self-actualization and career opportunities amongst possible reasons for leaving the homeland.

Still, only 11 percent of Russians would like to live in the West permanently. Eighty-two percent of the respondents do not wish to leave Russia.

A quarter (26 percent) said that buying property abroad, opening accounts with foreign banks, sending children to Western schools and spending vacations outside Russia were normal things to do. Fifty percent did not care about those trends, and 21 percent felt annoyed by them. Three percent were undecided.