ERR in Moscow: sanctions mobilizing the population behind Putin (3)
Polls in Russia show that the sanctions imposed on Russia by the West are having the opposite effect as they are rallying the people behind President Vladimir Putin, says ERR's man in Moscow, Neeme Raud.
A poll by a state-owned research institution found that 70 percent of the population say the current situation in Russia is unstable, and that the West is to blame.
Valery Fedorov, director of the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, said people see two reasons behind the internal crisis in Russia. “First – the price of oil. It is difficult to say who exactly determines the rate, although there are many conspiracy theories, in Russia as well. Many believe the price of petroleum was decreased to harm Russia, but that is not the dominating theory.”
The second reason lies in sanctions. “That means for Russians, the United States and the West are to blame for our crisis. And not Putin! What the future holds, will the situation deteriorate to a point where pluses become minuses and vice versa – it is too early to talk about that,” Fedorov said.
He said Russians believe the West is using the Crimea and Ukraine as an excuse to force Russia onto its knees.
Raud said Russian academics believe the livelihood of the people must drop significantly before they begin to blame the authorities. Another factor is the Russian political and financial elite, who have been hit by the sanctions, and who could turn against the government.