Who cares about Russians’ opinion?

Author : Oleh Panfilov

11:56, 10 August 2016

Who cares about Russians’ opinion?

Author : Oleh Panfilov

Sociology in Russia is a part of the propaganda. The population is interviewed not to find out their opinion about what they have never knew in life and hardly even will know

11:56, 10 August 2016

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I'm not speaking about Trump, I know very little about him. I'm talking about those who worry about his fate, his political future, his career, his wife, children. According to polls, the majority of respondents, that is 34 percent of Russians would like to see the US president Donald Trump, believing that his victory will improve the relations between Russia and the US. In this case of all 1,600 people in 46 Russian regions, only 40 percent know who exactly is Trump. And only 6 percent know exactly that he is running for the US presidency.

Of course, the Russians know better Hillary Clinton - 59%, only 19% know that she is the presidential candidate in the US and 3% even know that she was US secretary of state. As the general director of Russian center of Russian Public Opinion Research Center Valery Fyodorov said, "of the two candidates Russians clearly prefer Donald Trump. This sharp and eccentric billionaire politician is more likable than Hillary Clinton, who was remembered by us, above all, by her tough anti-Russian policy as Secretary of State. "

If seriously get along with Russian sociology, which exists owing to the state budget money, the results may seem great – as if it shows an opinion of mature society that is deeply interested in foreign policy, geopolitical issues, actively participates in public discussions and debates. But the real picture of public opinion in Russia is difficult to understand for several reasons. First, sociologists somehow did not ask about the number of Russians who regularly watch the news on CNN channel or use alternative sources of information, such as the BBC or Al Jazeera. Secondly, it would be interesting to know how many of those polled 1,600 Russians speak European languages and how much time they assign to read news about American policy in English.

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You shouldn’t even arrange a meticulous survey asking how regularly Russians read "Washington Post" or "New York Times" or do they know that these newspapers have official pages in Russian. But in any case, it would be interesting to know on what information basis the fans of Russian Communists, Liberal Democrats or United Russia parties construct their thoughts about the US policy makers. How often do they watch Russian TV programs? Just wondering who feeds them with evaluative judgments when most Russians do not imagine why sociologists ask them about Clinton and Trump.

Sociology in Russia is a part of the propaganda. The population is interviewed not in order to find out their opinion about what they have never knew in life and hardly even will know. But in order to create the appearance of active population interested in politics. Seriously related to such polls, it is unlikely that the Russians know about the life and work of the majority of Russian politicians, forming their attitude only on TV channels that have long been monotonous, as once Soviet television, radio and newspapers have been.

Interesting "Trumpology" is only a part of Russians’ interest to external world. Periodically, when the Kremlin begins next war, public television informs the population about what they should know. God forbid seeing how average Russians suddenly learned Arabic and purchased a satellite dish to watch Syrian government and opposition channels. If this would happen, then the nationals of Putin will have a shock of information - from the comparison, heard and seen.

Russians’ interest occasionally increased relating Chechnya, then Georgia, then Ukraine, now - Syria. Number of experts in the blogosphere discussing provided by Russia humanitarian assistance to all suffering and poor, is growing hundreds of thousands and even millions. Having heard propagandist Kiselyov’s programs on TV, Russians run to their computers to write words of admiration dedicated to  another feat of Russian aircraft in Syria, another crime of "Kyiv junta" or to poke on the new funny phrase that "populist" Saakashvili said. And so comes from event to event, from war to war, and indeed from Putin’s desire once again to send troops and then actively provide "humanitarian assistance."

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It is hard to imagine that somebody cares about Russians’ opinion, especially in the Kremlin. And it is quite impossible to see Hillary Clinton, sobbing near computer with the results of another Russian survey. Self-sufficient America lives its life, and as again reported by sociologists, this time from the US - in Russia the scale of authoritarianism is going wild. "Hamilton College" from New York conducted a survey among the Russian elite to find out whether the country has its own political life. It is not surprising that their results have coincided with Russian: 79% of respondents believe in Putin as the future president, as 79.4% believe unchanged the leadership of the party "United Russia".

So what is the reason for Russian institutes to conduct polls in Russia? And what is the interest of publishing the "results" of alleged "polls"? For the propaganda, for the formation of Russians’ attitude to certain things what Putin applied his generous hand to. The result of the false research is in its final formulation, published by RIA "News", as follows: "The majority of Germans (63%), half of Britons (50%) and almost one-third of Americans (30%) who are aware of Russia's actions in Syria, consider Turkish actions (downing the Russian p fighter plane), unjustified. Conversely, 71% of the inhabitants of Turkey support the actions of those who gave the order to shoot down the plane. " Here now Putin can easily crush Turkish tomatoes, ban flights of Russian and Turkish aircraft, demand from the Russians to forgot Turkish "all inclusive", and stood in line for chebureks at the Yalta embankment in occupied Crimea.

"Trumpology" is a style of Putin's ideology, which was described long time ago by Soviet comedian Mikhail Zhvanetskiy: “"Let's talk about the collapse and the rise of Hollywood without seeing a single film. Let's criticize philosophers without reading their works. Let's argue about the taste of oysters and coconuts with those who ate it, perceiving the taste of food by ear, color by tongue, smell by eyes, imagining the film by name, painting by name, and country by travel program”. He very aptly put it, just seeing the desire of average Russian to imagine himself graduate of Harvard, pointedly discussing the pros and cons of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

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Related: Trump's Crimean statements: parroting Kremlin's position

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