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RFE/RL Poll: Russians Cynical on Elections

(Prague, Czech Republic–November 15, 2007) Two thirds of Russian voters do not believe parliamentary elections to be held next month will be “honest” or fair, according to a poll commissioned by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

The results of the nation-wide survey, released today, show 65.5 percent of voting age Russians are deeply cynical about the December 2 elections and only 18.4 percent think the will of the voters will really determine which political parties win seats in the State Duma. Nearly half said the results of the elections will be controlled by Russian President Vladimir Putin and his government.

Despite their stated lack of confidence in the election process, nearly 60 percent of those polled said they planned to go and vote, two thirds said it is important that Russia hold democratic elections, and more than half the respondents said they believe the elections will lead to improvements in their lives.

Lev Gudkov, director of the Moscow-based Levada Analytical Center which conducted the survey for RFE/RL, told RFE/RL’s Russian Service today that “all the research shows a contrast between what people think should happen and what they see in reality,” and that “people are suggesting from experience the possibility of violations, falsifications, pressure.”

The survey, which was conducted for RFE/RL by the Moscow-based Levada Analytical Center and managed by InterMedia Survey Institute, polled 4,319 respondents in all seven Federal Regions over the first three weeks in October; it has a confidence interval of 95 percent and a margin of error of plus/minus 1.49 percent.

Results suggested wide regional variations in voter attitudes, with people living in the Russian South most skeptical about the election process and those living in the Far East most optimistic about their future.

For more information about the survey, please visit RFE/RL’s English-language website and its Russian-language website