Survey: Most Russians say they want a democracy but don’t support democratic values

Presentation of results of the survey "The Perception of Freedom by Inhabitants of Russia" conducted by the Friedrich-Nauman Foundation. September 28, 2016. (Image: DW/E. Samedowa)

Presentation of results of the survey "The Perception of Freedom by Inhabitants of Russia" conducted by the Friedrich-Nauman Foundation. September 28, 2016. (Image: DW/E. Samedowa) 

2016/10/04 • Analysis & Opinion, Russia

A majority of Russians – 57 percent – say they want to live in a democratic state, according to a new survey conducted by Germany’s Friedrich-Nauman Foundation; but an equal or even larger number of them support government actions that undermine any chance of Russia becoming a liberal democracy.

Among the key findings of this telephone poll of 1653 Russian citizens (as reported by DW and Shipilov) are the following:

In reporting these findings, some of the German foundation’s experts said that the contradiction between support for democracy as a general proposition and the absence of support for democracy in particular cases may reflect a lack of understanding of just what democracy in fact is.

The survey found that 34.1 percent of the Russian sample said they had difficulty in answering that question, while 39.1 percent said that “democracy is democratic rights and freedoms, 10 percent that it is the rule of the people, and 2.4 percent that it is anarchy.”

But Dmitry Rogozin, the director of research at the Russian Academy of Economics and State Service who oversaw this research, told Deutsche Welle that the divide between support for democracy and the lack of support for certain aspects of it does not in fact reflect ignorance on the part of Russians as to what democracy in fact is.

Instead, he said, it reflects something that many will see as even more disturbing: the fact that many Russians do not see democracy as having much to do with their lives and therefore do not place it at the center of their discussions about what the state is doing and what their role in the state actually is.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • zorbatheturk

    A newer survey by the Zorba Foundation has found that 99.6% of Russians suffer from schizophrenia, 99.7% have heard voices that sound like Putin, and that 99.8% of them would like cheaper sausages which are guaranteed not to contain rat meat, and 99.9% of them would vote for any political party that stands on a free-vodka-every-Tuesday platform.

  • Cargocat

    I conclude that Russians are a different sort of breed that never have and never will get democracy. I think that despotism has been inbred into their dna for so long that only several more centuries of deprograming will overcome this cultural characteristic. The question remains, how do you accomplish this? Perhaps another Russian revolution?

    • Quartermaster

      I think Russia is going to continue their downward slide until they are an outright third world cesspool. They aren’t far from it now, but Putin is placing them on the road to where they will finish the process.

  • Matt Franklin

    A nation of slaves.