The number of people desiring “decisive changes” in Russia has inched up to stand at 59 percent of the population, according to a recent nationwide survey of 1,600 Russians by the Moscow Carnegie Center, a non-profit think-tank, and the Levada-Center, an independent pollster.
Economic security, rather than political reform, appears to be these respondents’ primary concern. Increasing salaries, pensions, and Russia’s overall standard of living was the most frequently desired change (24 percent). The largest percentage of those surveyed, 45 percent, thought the government’s priority should be reducing inflation and prices.
Changing the president and government interested just 13 percent of those polled.
The survey was conducted in July 2019, before massive, unauthorized protests against candidate-registration practices had run their course.
The emphasis on economic issues appears to reflect the age span of most of those eager for mega-transformations. Sixty-three percent of these respondents between the ages of 40-63; individuals on the eve of retirement or no longer “feeling too confident in the labor market,” the Moscow Carnegie Center reasoned.
In 2018, protests broke out across Russia when President Vladimir Putin raised the official retirement age to 65 for men and to 60 for women – a prospect that prompted many to fear that, amidst a relatively weak economy, they would be unable to make ends meet.
That year, 58 percent of surveyed Russians desired major changes; a notable surge from 42 percent in a 2017 survey.
To find out what other changes, if any, ordinary Russians might have in mind, Current Time correspondent Aleksei Aleksandrov took to the streets of Moscow.