National pride rises as support for democracy falls in Russia

National pride rises as support for democracy falls in Russia
By Henry Kirby in London December 9, 2015

The number of Russians who feel ashamed at the state of the country has fallen a massive 63 percentage points (pp) since 1996, a poll by the Levada-Center has shown.

The survey, first conducted nearly 20 years ago, asked respondents to rate the level of pride they feel for various aspects of Russia and Russian life. The share of respondents who said they were ashamed of current events in Russia fell from 81% in 1996 to just 18% in November this year.

85% of Russians said that it is better to be a citizen of Russian than of any other country, up from 70% in 1996, while only 29% agreed that admitting the country’s faults would be beneficial.

Pride in the Russian armed forces saw a bigger increase than in any other category, growing 45pp since 1996, from 40% to 85%. Pride in Russia’s global political influence has also rocketed since the grim mid-1990s, up 42pp to 68%.

No category saw a decrease in levels of pride, but many recorded only marginal increases compared to others. Pride in economic achievements grew only 12pp to 27%; pride in social protection grew 13pp to 21%; pride in social justice and equality grew 16pp to 23%; and pride in Russian democracy grew 19pp to 35%.

The lack of growth in pride for democracy in Russia mirrored the views represented in another Levada poll, which showed that only a minority 45% of Russians believe democratic elections are the best means of choosing a head of state. More than one in five believe that leaders should appoint their successors, and nearly one in five believe that leaders should remain in power for as long as possible.