Russian propaganda is trying to blame the West, the falling oil prices and ‘bad’ Putin’s advisors for the worsening living standards of Russians.
Many Russians are indeed supportive of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions and promises. ‘Well done’, they say, ‘he fights for the interests of Russia against the U.S.’ But it’s all just a make-believe effect.
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Only an insignificant number of Russian people are aware of the fact that Putin’s ruling is a direct cause and effect of the crisis as well as the worsening living standards of Russian people.
Russian propaganda machine is hiding away this direct link, trying to blame the West, the falling oil prices and ‘bad’ Putin’s advisors for all the troubles, thus exonerating Putin from responsibility.
Russian people believe that it’s all the fault of corrupt members of parliament, or defense officials or healthcare officials – anyone but not Putin. The President is not being blamed for anything, although every Russian citizen knows that he is the head of one of the most corrupt countries in the world.
However, there is no alternative to Putin now. Russian people would rather not take part in elections as they would not see any sense in participating in the political process.
Moreover, Russian people are scared and, at the same time, easily irritated by those who are brave enough to go against the government. In such a way, Russian people turn their lack of courage, their subordination and opportunism into aggression against such ‘troublemakers’.
Low chances for Russia’s society to see the clear picture
Russians are angry with those who dare to contradict the government and that’s a powerful mechanism of conformism. And it doesn’t seem like there are any political actors in Russia who would be powerful enough to change that.
As long as Russian opposition and those who stand up against the Putin’s regime do not have access to Russian media, as long as there is no alternative to a system of mass communication and no opportunity to express your opinion and a plan of action, the chances that Russian society is going to change something are extremely low.
A recent study published by state-run VTsIOM found that the number of respondents in July who had to buy cheaper foods and products has risen from 38 percent in January this year to 53 percent in July. Meanwhile, the number of those abstaining from buying needed foods and products has risen from 39 percent to 52 percent in the same period.
According to another study conducted by the same pollster, only 10 percent of Russian people hold their savings in foreign currency.
Another pollster, the Public Opinion Foundation, recently found that of those 35 percent of Russians who own any savings, 92 percent keep them in Russia’s currency – rubles, which has been breaking its anti-records this month.
The ruble plummeted to its lowest level since January 2015 against the dollar, jumping to 71.13 rubles per one dollar. The Russian ruble has fallen nearly 25% against the dollar in 2015.
U.S. fault – not Putin’s fault
However, Russian people do not seem to be concerned over the price of oil or the ongoing fall of the ruble. Russians only react when prices in stores change and act accordingly: they save on ‘unnecessary’ products and reduce consumption of foods.
But that’s not Putin’s fault, Russian people think. The fact that Russian people have to survive instead of living is the fault of the United States. But not Putin’s.
A recent poll on the level of trust for the authorities published by Levada Center found that only 4 percent of Russians are certain that Russian government officials always tell the truth, 13 percent believe that they tell the truth most of the times, 34 percent believe that they sometimes tell the truth and sometimes they have to lie, and as many as 41 percent of respondents believe that the government always lies.
However, it must be noted that most Russians believe that ‘the Russian government’ and Putin himself are two completely different things in the political life of Russia.
As many as 56 percent of Russians believe that Putin does not get a complete picture of the situation in the country from his advisors, and only 31 percent of Russian people believe that he is fully aware of the actual state of things.
Loyalty to Putin is too strong to be broken
Sociologist have long noticed this opinion in Russian society: Putin is smart and caring for the country, while his advisors are incompetent and corrupt criminals.
However, if you think about it – all the claims that Putin has raised Russia from poverty and restored the status of a country that can compete with other great powers mean that the President has done it all without knowing what was actually going on. It seems that Russian people believe that Putin doesn’t even need reliable advisors to do ‘the right things’.
Levada Center noted that Vladimir Putin is satisfied with his approval rating because he believes that Russian people are expressing their loyalty to Russia. And it doesn’t seem that there will be something that may repel Russian people from such loyalty to Putin in the nearest future.
Why? Maybe Russian people are willing to make a sacrifice and suffer ‘a little’ for the future, as they might think. But whether it’s really going to last ‘a little’ and whether there will be anything that may open the eyes of Russian people to clearly see the situation as it is – nobody knows.