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“The complete inadequacy of power as if we live in different worlds”

«Полная неадекватность власти, как будто мы с ней живем в разных мирах»

There is a revolution in mass consciousness of Russians. Interview with sociologist

A group of sociologists under the leadership of Sergey Belanovsky has recently completed a case study in several cities. It took place from March to may. In focus groups residents were interviewed in Moscow, Yekaterinburg, Vladivostok, Magadan, Kaliningrad, Yakutsk and Krasnoyarsk. In the next few days will be published a report on this study. His goal was to see how changed the consciousness of the inhabitants of the regions, their relation to the socio-political situation in the country.

These data should be of alarming concern to the Federal government. Consensus Crimea is no longer, the figure of the President has lost its former authority, the local authorities are not credible, people are waiting for a new Lenin. Anything that deters people from mass protest is the lack of ideas, the leaders of the protest and revolutionary organizations. But protests finished, more and more, compared to the situation one year ago. What’s going on in the minds of people? This is what we told the senior scientific employee of the Russian presidential Academy of national economy and public administration, head of the research group Anastasia Nikolskaya.

“They say that the regions should be given the right as States in the U.S.”

— How did you come up with the idea to do this study?

— Our group of sociologists, let’s call it group Belanovsky, there is a strong feeling that in the minds of the people there are incredible changes. A year ago, when we were preparing another study, people said that we need to change our slave mentality. While it will be, we will not change anything. From this point we are seeing serious changes in the minds of people. They say that you are responsible for what happens.

In 2011, researchers Mikhail Dmitriev and Sergei Belanovsky predicted the protests on Bolotnaya. But then we were just looking to change moods, and now we focused on the change in the mass consciousness. And we noticed that people want autonomy in their regions.

— What do you mean by “regional autonomy”? We know that the Federal center is sensitive to all sorts of autonomy. Where is the line between the desire for autonomy and separatist tendencies?

— People in Magadan, Vladivostok, Yakutsk saying almost the same thing: Moscow takes our money, while we’re literally surviving. They don’t want to help Syria, do not want to forgive the debts of Cuba. They say it’s our taxes, we have a right to know how they are spent. We would be better off initially with any country not cursed, then to not had to buy any of our friendships. Especially often such sentiments are heard in Magadan and Vladivostok, to a lesser extent in Yakutsk.

Hence, they come to believe that their regions need to give autonomy. By the way, is the definition they presented themselves, we are not told. They argue that their regions need to give such rights which have States in North America. There is, for example, has a common army, Federal taxes and so on. But mostly States have many of their powers.

But do not think that we surveyed people are dreamers. They understand that when gaining such autonomy, they immediately tumble down the good from the cornucopia. They will need to survive, to seek sources of income that will need by yourself to establish contacts with the outside world, will need additional documents and so on. We are talking not about what we really do need to secede from Russia. We are talking about how to survive in these regions, the residents sorted out the different variants, compared with other countries. That is, there is the idea of separation for the sake of the office. There is an understanding that the way to live longer.

— Russia called Federation, which presupposes autonomy. Moreover, there are even regions in the title has the word Autonomous. So what autonomy they want?

— We have gefederte, lzhedemokratiya, we have a total violation of the Constitution. This is not a new conclusion. We came to a degradation of the state as a whole. At least these are the responses of our respondents. 88% of respondents believe that the country’s economic and political situation has become much worse.

— What questions you asked the respondents?

— Do you think that Russia should unite with the former or new allies or, conversely, to let everyone who wants to secede? Here is that answer. For example, here is that answer in Yekaterinburg:

“No need to unite with anyone. Big country — more chaos […]”.


“We need to unite only with those who want it. You should never drag a stick”.


“We need to give more powers to the republics […]”.


“We need to have in the United States, where each state has its own laws, only the army and money for everyone. We like the dog in the manger: they can’t bring the territory into the order and others are not allowed. Want the Kremlin to live — let them live but let others do not disturb”.


“We need to curb the Imperial ambitions of our country. Before asked us, because Russia was a powerful country. Now powerful state we do not pull. We have their Augean stables to clean. With stronger we unite we can’t, because we are not willing to recognize themselves as weak, although the way it is. We must unite with those who asks for it. And to us, no one asks”.

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— Are you sure that you meet people from different segments of the population, and not those who are called “opposition”, “liberals”, “napolniteli” and so on? Maybe if you conduct a survey among the workers “Uralvagonzavod”, we will see very different answers?

When we conduct research, we turn to the sociological service of the cities where we’re going. They have a strict understanding of how selection. A good sample is where each member of the sample is chosen at random in the population unit. It is clear that the samples are shifted. Not all people want to go to focus groups and to share their opinions. Those who go there, guided by two motives: a little money (500-1500 rubles) and a desire to share my opinion. It is clear that not everyone is interested. But it’s the specificity of all the polls.

— Usually want more autonomy comes not from ordinary people but from the political elites. Remember the classic example of the Ural Republic was not invented by people in the street, and Eduard Rossel with colleagues. In your opinion, the political elite what more do you want now: autonomy or subordination to a centre?

— Now the population is so pronounced negative to the elite that none of its initiatives are no longer perceived. So I don’t think all these desires to live separately and away from Moscow initiated the regional groups of authorities. And then, such sentiments have not saying people tomorrow ready to act and to be separated. For this to happen, we need someone from the people who will act with such an idea. As long as people have the idea of the autonomy of the region is considered only in the context of the search for solutions to problems. It is not a panacea, not the last release. People just thought about it: what if we were to be Autonomous, then many problems could be solved. It is as if the animal fell into the trap of the hunter, it seeks all options to break free. For example, make a tunnel, something will rip or break, is trying to escape and so on. Autonomy — this is still a thought in the discourse of people, but not decorated idea to implementation.

“Immorality and selfishness of the authorities erected a virtue”

— The Kremlin five years ago, when authorities popularity began to fall, I decided to pick it up at the expense of the Crimea and events in Donbas. And the first time he has even managed to inspire people, to rally society around them. Now with this effect?

In Yakutsk of all respondents to the question about Putin’s achievements only two remembered about the Crimea. About the Olympics did not remember at all any one person. About the world Cup remember just due to the fact that under the guise of imposed pension reform. As soon as people realized what they pay for the Crimea, all the exultation gone.

— How is evaluated the first year of the reign of the next term of Putin?

— 72% say worse, 26% say that nothing has changed, and 2% say they became better.

— In addition to foreign policy, what action of the center rejection in the regions?

— But let’s not speak about the regions and about specific people, living in different regions. Take, for example, Ekaterinburg, here are phrases from the responses:

“Medicine has deteriorated, raising the retirement age, increase of VAT, the law on “sovereign Runet” corporations squeeze out small business, of torture in the interior Ministry and the FSB, the media more and more stupid trying to divert public attention from the real issues. To get the power of people on the basis of loyalty, not professionalism. Tired of the endless lies and treatment of people as second-class citizens. How can guzzle at our expense, and behave rudely. It is genocide. The immorality and selfishness of the authorities erected a virtue, it’s unheard of cynicism”.


“The country is working in the defense industry. In the 80-ies and in the defense industry, science, and medicine enough, and now no money, only missiles boast. If I give handouts, it does not mean that I am happy with the regime. Law enforcement do not work, violate the rights of people. This system is advantageous to suppress the people as individuals. Nothing good under Putin will be gone. No one is responsible for anything, indifference, no professional responsibility, must often change officials: failed — dismissed”.


“In this model, there are no other options, in addition to deterioration. A system that ignores feedback, is doomed. That can create a system that is not in line with reality? The complete inadequacy of power as if we live in different worlds. People are disoriented and disorganized. They do not find alternative. They understand that it’s a dead end”.


“Taxes have increased. The growth of prices such that wages can’t keep up. Raising the retirement age. Unemployment. The whole world hates us. Industry and agriculture are in decline. We are rapidly moving to the 37 th year, everywhere total control. The law on contempt”.

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“Putin is not considered to be with the people, he hoped that if we kept it then it will continue indefinitely, but it is not. The standard of living has sharply deteriorated. Russia has quarreled with the whole world, all lies and aggression. The media distract us with issues of Paris, Venezuela, Ukraine, as if we can’t see what is happening. There was complete stagnation.”


“Rising prices, corruption, utopian promises, increased taxes, raising the retirement age, deteriorating health and education”.


“We are raising money for surgery for children and are paying huge salaries to managers of state corporations”.

— What I don’t want the residents of the regions from the centre — right. What do you want? Perhaps your research has reflected this question?

Nothing. People just want change of power.

Sociologist Sergei Belanovsky saw in your study, the possibility of some party governors. How can you comment?

As an idea party governors interesting. This will allow some way to force the Federal center to listen. How is it really? While the reason for this is not see, governors are increasingly puppets of the same Federal government. Maybe someone from the governors already and is considering to act against the will of the centre. But first have to weaken the centre. And yet can be easily removed from office because of the loss of confidence in the President of any Chapter in the region.

For example, in Magadan, we asked about their Governor. As they spoke about it? Putin fosterling, illiterate, knowledge is at zero, does not know basic things, the populist, pulled her, going to cut down the forest, non-native, not caring for the region, wants to curry favor with Putin. Somebody put it generally abruptly, and I quote, “Everyone who comes from Putin — redneck”. So which party governors may be?

“People are willing to go to rallies, even ready to receive the baton on the head”

— In your opinion, those feelings that you have recorded in the regions, more able to unwind when life will change for the better? Or the point of no return has already been passed?

— The point of no return has already been passed. A year ago, such sentiments could be removed handouts from the center. Now people are more determined, they have ceased to operate these great events and activities ranging from the Crimea and ending with the championship. People think about the necessity and the deterioration of his life clearly linked with Moscow’s policy.

— What will be the outcome of the growth of such sentiments? Rebellion, independence, revolution? It is clear that the real office is very far away and while it sounds fantastic. But the mass protests already have today: Ingushetia, Arkhangelsk oblast, Ekaterinburg.

— That the region was a revolution, you need to be headed. And while in the regions there are no leaders who can organize and lead the revolution.

— Coming soon in some regions the elections are coming. Not so long ago guarantee of passing in the local Duma and the Soviets were belonging to the “United Russia”, the Association of himself with Vladimir Putin, the slogans about the unity of the country: to accelerate, deepen, bear and so on. But the recent elections in a number of regions won by the opposition and technical candidates. Let’s say you work as a political consultant in the next elections. What will you advise the candidate based on the data in your sociological research?

— I would advise as far as possible to distance themselves from this government, to show that you’re not mired in the framework of cooperation with the authorities. Everyone who interacts with the government is corrupt people, from the point of view of the interviewed.

So we have there comes a Golden time for the opposition?

— May be coming, but people still don’t see the leaders. You know who they most appreciate now? Lenin! And to the question why, the answer is that he was able to break the system. He was able to inspire the masses. But among today’s opponents they do not see the new Lenin.

— That is Russia a hundred years later back to the same historical point where he left? She again wants Lenin and the revolution?

— I wouldn’t say that. No one today any brilliant ideas, respectively, and the present revolutionary movement is impossible. Yes, there will be local protests. But they were United in a single force within a country, we need a unifying idea. And it’s not there.

— Conclusion: people are unhappy, but will tolerate? Everything is as it was before.

And to endure, they too will not be. They will be performing. Are already spoken for. Last year we saw expressed protest vote, and in this we see massive street protests. But people do not want to protest for the sake of pranks and vandalism, don’t want to go flip cars and break the Windows. People are willing to go to rallies, even ready to receive the baton on the head. But they need to understand how it will improve their lives. People have real needs for a better life, the realization of their rights. That is, formed a new civil culture. But ideas and movements yet.

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