ISSN 2330-717X

Two Thirds Of Russians Haven’t Heard Anything About Independent Media Being Classified As ‘Foreign Agents’ – OpEd

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Public opinion surveys are a useful reminder that issues which dominate discussions in the commentariat may have little meaning for the population as a whole. An example of this is a new Levada Center poll in which 65 percent of Russians say they haven’t heard anything about the authorities classifying independent media as “foreign agents.”

Those 55 and over or those who read telegram channels regularly were better informed, the polling service reported, while Russians aged 25 to 39 and those who rely on television as their basic source of information were the least knowledgeable about an issue that has agitated Russian liberals (levada.ru/2021/11/12/smi-inoagenty/).

Russians were also asked whether they thought this was a good practice. Eleven percent said they believed it was, 19 percent had a negative view; but an overwhelming 66 percent said that as far as they were concerned it was a matter of indifference, attitudes that mean there is little reason to expect much opposition to what the Putin regime is doing in this sector.  

The Levada Center reported that the percentage of Russians who think the law on “foreign agents” is to put pressure on independent media has risen from 40 percent in July to 45 percent now, while over the same period, the share who believe that the law is limiting negative Western influence on Russia stayed more or less constant, 37 percent in July and 36 percent now.

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Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

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