“Someday never comes” for some people

Russians haven’t gotten politically smarter in the past decade, according to the latest Pew report (as compared with these polls from 2009). Only 38% believe that free media are important, a negligible increase from 37% in 2009. Only 40% believe that regular competitive elections are important, down from the 41% who realized the need for multiparty elections in 2009. Less than a quarter, 23%, “say opposition parties should be able to operate freely!” Only 42% find freedom of religion important, down from 47% in 2009.

A strong enough majority believes in the need for a proper judicial system, but this number has also gone down in the past decade, from 69% to 63%. Support for free speech has grown considerably from 38% to 45% but it’s still pathetically low for a modern Western or Westernized society.

They really can’t put two and two together, one is tempted to say. How can you make the judiciary honest and transparent if you don’t have competitive elections and a free press and/or free speech? Only by a miracle. This Manilov-Oblomov school of political thought or, rather, of non-thought seems to have secured for itself an eternal dominion over dozens of millions of Russian minds.

There’s good news too, in a perverse way perhaps. According to Pew, 59% of Russians believe the current economic situation is bad. Only 28% are “satisfied with life,” down from 35% in 2009. Pain is a good teacher, they say: some day, perhaps, the dissatisfied and the impoverished will connect their condition to the country’s political malaise and their own absenteeism. On the other hand, there are always people for whom, as the song goes, “someday never comes.”


  1. I’ve noticed this apparent paradox among Russians: cynicism toward the authorities combined with distrust of the opposition. Is this as illogical as it looks, or is it the result of a “plague on both your houses” mentality?

    • It’s probably a symptom of political apathy or absenteeism. Perhaps an attempt to justify their passivity.

Comments are closed.

Discover more from Winterings in Trans-Scythia

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading