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Russian Faith in "Western-Style Democracy" Reaches All-Time Low
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This will probably be of no surprise to people who follow Russian sentiments, but still worth pointing out that according to the latest polls by Levada – an independent polling agency headed by pro-Western liberals – support for this thing called “Western-style democracy” has never been lower. This is quite a change from 2012, at the height of the post-Soviet protest fervor, when it was neck and neck with the Soviet system and the legitimacy of the current system came close to its local maximum.

russia-best-political-system

Likewise, support for free markets is also near, though not quite at, an all-time low. The catastrophic events of the 1990s, first the epically crooked privatizations, then the 1998 default, disillusioned Russians from “reform” for the foreseeable future.

russia-best-economic-system

You don’t really need many Kiselevs when two decades of geopolitical double standards and Cochita Wursts can do the job even better. In the great scheme of things, considering Russians’ enthusiasm for Western democracy and free markets directly after the fall of the USSR, which was still detectable even when Putin first came to power and mooted the possibility of Russia joining NATO (on which he was cold shouldered), this can be interpreted as one of history’s greatest ideological PR fails.

These figures demonstrate that there is more to Russia’s pride and accumulated resentment than the headline 80%+ approval ratings for Putin after Crimea. One consequence is that Russia is more or less “immunized” against coups and color revolutions until at least the next round of elections in 2017-18. Western policymakers might not like this fact or even be unduly interested in it, but reality is.

 
• Category: Foreign Policy • Tags: Democracy, Russian Politics 
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  1. Sort of on topic…

    Anatoly, would you be so kind as to provide me a one minute rundown of Anatoly Wassserman? At a recent dinner my uncle was singing his praises, saying how he’s one of the most important commentators out there, a genius, etc. I haven’t heard of him before so I briefly looked him up.

    I watched 2 or 3 recent YouTube uploads and read a tiny bit about him. Since my uncle is a pretty hardcore conservative (more libertarian if he knew what that word means), NRA guy, Soviet hater, US patriot, and general skeptic, I was very surprised that he so highly approved of a Marxist and Stalin apologist.

    My own initial impression of Wasserman was that he’s a cartoon more ridiculous than Glenn Beck. His actual analysis, though, (I’d say I understood ~%80 of the Russian), I didn’t much disagree with, and perhaps there may even be overlap with some of the deconstruction one would find on this blog. I also read he’s some game show nerd and self-avowed virgin. (Honestly, right of the bat I would have trouble trusting he opinions of someone who willingly shut away a central aspect of life.)

    Again, I only saw a few videos and read a few paragraphs, so it may be unbelievably stupid for me to even ask this. I only do so because I’m afraid I’m missing something in the ~%20 I’m not quite catching. So, is he full-on crank, half crank, or at least partly worth listening to? Gotta arm myself for the next family dinner! 🙂

  2. join the club

    western-style democracy is currently disguised oligarchy and it probably always was but the current oligarchs seem to be 90% gangster whereas in the past they were maybe only 60% gangster – and that 30% makes a lot of difference.

  3. Ostalgia.

    The is the same country that seems happy with revisionism of Stalin’s crimes.

    Russia ain’t part of the weltanshauung of Europe.

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