Those absurd Russians

One of my favorite theses is that in some areas Russians are so ignorant that they need an urgent crash course — or they just can’t put two and two together. Politics and religion are two of these areas. Judge for yourselves:

According to polls conducted by the Levada Center, already in 2002 57% of Russians considered themselves Orthodox Christians. (I believe the percentage has grown since.) Yet in 2006, only 16% believed in eternal life! Also, back in 2002, only 8% admitted to receiving communion more than once a year, and 68% claimed that religion or faith are either not very, or not at all important to their lives.

On the political front, Putin’s approval ratings have hovered at no less that 70% for a year. Yet asked (in August 2006) if Russia is headed in the right direction, only 32% said yes, while 34% disagreed, and the rest were not sure. Moreover, 61% are not satisfied with the government’s economic policy. Evern more, 53% don’t believe their children or grandchildren will be able to receive a good education, and only a year ago, 75% of Russians did not expect to receive good medical care, and only 28% were positive on the government’s plans to reform the health care system.

Go figure.


  1. AT LAST!!!!!! Now there, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

    To improve for the future, try to remove the underlying tone that this situation might somehow be funny, something Russians have been giggling about for centuries, and might actually be something that is killing children, and you’ll be on track to start saving your country.

    The next step is to name some names and call for action. See how easy it is?

    Bravo! Encore!

  2. I don’t understand you, La Russophobe. What are you talking about? I have always argued that most Russians are simply too uneducated to make qualified decisions outside their private lives, and that the ruling elites have no interest in educating the masses. I am consistent in this.

    My irony, in case you did not notice, is a simple device to conceal pain and dispair — a device necessary in this postmodern age, when expressions like “saving your country” can only earn you ridicule. A substantial matter of style, as it were. Plus, I try not to be hysterical, though I am naturally prone to hysteria.

  3. According to psychologists, Russians are supposed to have the same IQ as other Europeans. It maybe that the polls are in error. Women in particular, are easily influence by biased polling questions.

  4. It has nothing to do with IQ. It has to do with history and pragmatic reality in Russia.

    I would suggest that, due to Russian history and culture, most Russians do NOT hold their top government official accountable for the crap they have to put up with in dealing with some minor bureaucrat. So it is perfectly reasonable for Russians to perceive that Putin is doing a very good job on a macro-state level, while they feel on a micro-state level the situation needs improvement.

    The Russian perception of the church and its role is similar. While most orthodox Russians wear a cross, hang icons in their home and automobiles – the depth of their belief is rather shallow. It stems more from tradition than from a deeply founded belief that God is the source of their strength. In fact, the Russian orthodox faith coexists with a great deal of ancient pagan faith that the people of Russia have never fully left behind.

    It seems illogical to those from another culture, but it doesn’t make Russian citizens stupid, as many bigots would like you to believe.

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