Only 53 Percent Of Russians Fully Committed To Voting For Putin – OpEd
By Paul Goble
At a closed briefing, officials of the Presidential Administration told deputy governors responsible for domestic policy that 53 percent of Russians are fully committed to voting for Putin while another 25 percent are vacillating and could vote either for him or for an opponent.
To ensure they vote for Putin, the deputy governors were told that they must promote two ideas – on the one hand, that there isn’t any real alternative to Putin; and on the other, that “one should not change horses in the middle of the stream,” according to classified Kremlin sources, Vyorstka reports (verstka.media/kreml-poschital-procent-nastroennih-golosovat-za-putina).
The news agency reports that the PA officials told the regional ones at the meeting that eight percent of Russians will not vote for Putin under any circumstances, eight percent do not plan to take part in the election, and one percent plan to spoil their ballots so that they will not be counted, all figures not at odds with public polls.
The main dangers in the upcoming elections, the PA officials said, were potentially growing concern about the special operation, ethnic issues, and generational divides. The Kremlin currently divides the population into five groups as far as the election is concerned and believes it can do well in all but one of them.
That is the Westerners, who form about 12 percent of the population, and want a Russia very different from the one Putin is creating. The other four are Putin “loyalists” who form 27 percent of the population, “patriots” (26 percent) who are inclined to support the regime, socialists (19 percent), and progressives (11 percent) who want to see more economic growth.
At the PA seminar, the deputy governors were told that the two groups the Kremlin is most concerned about are “disappointed patriots” who want Moscow to take more decisive actions in Ukraine and “Westerners” who want an entirely different Russian policy at home and abroad. The first group now numbers about four percent but could grow to 15 percent by 2024.
The Westerners now amount to 10 to 12 percent of the voters but their numbers could swell to 15 to 20 percent, especially if pessimism spreads more generally among the population. The Westerners don’t want television and the Kremlin hopes not to win them over but to demotivate them from taking part in the election itself.