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A Popular Fear of Change

putin031808.jpgThe following is a translation from RBC Daily: Russians for Putin Population of RF fears regime change in country Over the past two years, the quantity of Russians supporting the course of Vladimir Putin without reservation and considering that the new president ought not change anything in it has increased. Such are the results of a recently published VTsIOM survey. If in the year 2006, 27% of survey participants expressed unequivocal support for VVP, while in this year – already 42%. In so doing, there have also become fewer supporters of cardinal changes in the politico-economic course of the country over the past few years.

Respondents were offered to respond to the question “Do you consider that the political and economic course of Vladimir Putin ought to be continued after the presidential elections of the year 2008” with the help of four variants of responses. Most survey participants of all (42%) spoke out for Dmitry Medvedev unqualifiedly adhering to «Putin’s Plan», 40% on the whole approves of the current course, but considers that certain correctives can be introduced in it, and only 10% come out for a sharp change of course.As experts assert, such moods among the Russian population are connected with two principal tendencies. The first – this is the fact that over the past few years, Russians have indeed started to live better, and that is why they perceive of the course of president Putin too if not as a panacea from their troubles, then as a not-bad lever for raising their living standards. “The social-economic situation in the country has objectively improved and continues to improve”, noted director-general of the Agency for Political and Economic Situations Dmitry Orlov in a discussion with RBC Daily.The second tendency, perhaps, is not as obvious as the first, but, in the words of experts, influenced the results of the current survey much more strongly. “Russians have grown accustomed to regime change in our country being very dangerous and accompanied by cataclysms. It is possible that not everybody is pleased with what they now have, but at least this is better than to lose something. Very much depends on the first person in the Russian state – the president – while there are very few guarantees that a sober-minded and energetic person, who will be able to conduct the correct policy, will subsequently come to power. Therefore, in the moment of regime change for Russians the value of the Putinite policy sharply increases”, said director-general of VTsIOM Valery Fedorov in a discussion with RBC daily.Alexander Shirokov, 14.03.2008