Majority of Russians against early Duma elections – poll

Duma Session file photo

MOSCOW. Jan 29 (Interfax) – A little more than half of Russians are against the hypothetical dissolution of the State Duma and early parliamentary elections – about twice as many as those who want new elections, an opinion poll suggests.

Moreover, more than two-thirds of Russians don’t want to take part in protests such as those that have been rocking the country since December 2011, according to the findings of the survey, conducted by Moscow Levada Center opinion studies group.

Levada Center told Interfax on Tuesday that 55% of respondents in the poll had said they were against early parliamentary elections, that 26% took the opposite stance, and that 20% were undecided.

There were mixed responses to the pollsters’ request for comments on post-December 2011 public protests, with 38% arguing that the protests had produced no serious effect, smaller percentages pointing out various allegedly positive results, and 15% claiming that opposition leaders had proved incapable of coming up with any constructive idea or action program.

The following positive assessments of the protests were made during the survey, taken on January 18-21, – “people have come to feel powerful” (13%), “the protesters have received support from broad strata of the population (12%), “active strata of the population have woken up, and a sense of civil responsibility has emerged” (12%), and “protesters have wrenched practical concessions from the government and have made it launch reforms” (5%).

Levada Center said 45 of Russia’s regions – a little more than half of the total – had been selected as venues for the poll.

Furthermore, 16% thought the government had failed to keep its post-electoral promises and embarked on a “screw-tightening” policy, while 20% were undecided.

More people are willing to join in new protest actions than were last month – 21% of respondents said so in January’s poll versus 15% in December’s survey by Levada Center. At the same time, 70% of those questioned in January’s survey said they had no plans to take part in protests.