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Monday, August 21, 2006

Scanning the Shelves in the Russian Contradiction Department

REGNUM reports on a recent Levada Center pollshowing that nearly half of all Russians believe a massive financial crisis is imminent (given the wretched state of Russia's economy this is an accurate premonition), yet despite this they continue to favor "President" Putin with 75%+ approval ratings. Clearly, Russia is the nation of contradictions.

Almost half Russians (47%) believe that within the coming year a situation can emerge in the country that would result in a financial crisis analogous to the one in 1998. 38% have an opposite opinion, and 15% found it difficult to answer. The data has been released by Yuri Levada’s Analytical Center grounding on the results of a poll conducted in mid-July in 46 Russia’s regions.

At the same time, the survey has shown that 22% Russians have some savings and 69% do not. 9% found it difficult or refused to provide an answer. Speaking on forms of savings, 40% Russians would prefer to invest in real estate, 23% would rather have an account in Sberbank, 11% in cash, 7% in gold and valuable, 3% in shares, 2% have an account in a commercial bank. Meanwhile, 50% of the respondents are sure that the most secure currency for savings is Russian ruble, 24% euro, 9% US dollar. 17% found it difficult to answer. 1,600 persons participated in the poll. Statistical error is not over 3%.

Meanwhile, the Sunday Observer reports on a second Levada poll which now shows opinion evenly divided between the forces of Yeltsin/Gorbachev and the August 1991 coup plotters who wanted a literal return to the worst days of the USSR. In other words, Russians wish Yeltsin (and hence Putin) had never come to power, yet they still favor Putin with nosebleed-high approval ratings.

In a poll this week by the independent Levada Center, GKChP won slightly more retrospective support (13 percent) than Yeltsin and his supporters (12 percent). Just as telling is that the majority of the 1,600 people polled (52 percent) said they would not take sides. Those who expressed an opinion mostly saw the coup and its defeat as a simple power struggle among ruling elites

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