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Poll: Russians critical of government performance
August 8, 2013, 10:54 pm


The Russian government managed to significantly reduce inflation in recent years []

A majority of Russians do not believe their  federal government is capable of improving living conditions in the country.

The recent poll conducted by the Levada Centre has revealed that 45 per cent of Russians have lost faith in the government while only 16 per cent believe it can positively impact their future.

Some 33 per cent said they are undecided.

The 2013 results mark a drop from 21 per cent approval ratings last year and 33 per cent in 2008.

However, 48 per cent of Russians rate the government’s economic policy as ‘fair’ and 6 per cent say it is ‘good’.

The most common reasons cited in the poll for dissatisfaction of the government’s performance are growing inflation, increasing consumption prices and decreases in disposable income, as well as insufficient social security.

Mark Sleboda, a senior lecturer and researcher of international relations and security at Moscow State University, says “negativity” in reporting on Russian affairs – both domestically and internationally – is tilting the perception battle.

“While it is true that most journalism around the world is negative, by the nature of the business, this is even more true in Russia. Reporting on Russia in the Western mainstream media and in Russia’s own print press and Internet is so relentlessly negative, quite often in contravention of fact, that Russians are some of the most negative people in the world in assessment of their own country and its progress. The irony is that nearly the opposite is true,” Sleboda told The BRICS Post.

Sleboda says there is a need to counter ‘perception’ with ‘facts’.

Russia’s GDP has increased ten-fold over the last decade and has just overtaken Germany as the fifth largest economy in terms of purchasing power parity, according to the latest World Bank rankings. Russia is also on the verge of surpassing Portugal in terms of GDP per capita, adjusted for purchasing power parity (PPP).

This is in addition to Russia having the lowest debt among G8 and G20 countries, the lowest unemployment rate in the past 13 years, decreasing poverty (65 per cent decline since 2000), and the fastest-growing personal wealth of any country in the world.

“And bear in mind that while this is happening, Russia was being trumpeted in the pages of Forbes as the country that has quietly “conquered inflation.” Russia is on path to become the largest consumer market in Europe, and the fourth largest consumer market in the world by 2020,” Sleboda said.

By Daria Chernyshova in Moscow, Russia, with inputs from Agencies