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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Surveys Paint a Picture Of Aggrieved Moscow

The Moscow government, stingy with figures, maintains a clever strategy of withholding data until such time as it can collect enough to unleash a flood. Presumably the approach is designed to scare a person off with the sheer weight of the data.


I decided recently to take up their challenge. To my surprise, it was well worth the effort.


The vehicle for my project was the Feb. 10 edition of Symptom, the monthly publication of the city government. I have long collected the 25-page Symptom bulletin -- so-called because its letters, in Russian, spell out Situation, Sums, Opinions, Forecasts, Tendencies, Experience and Oversight -- but have never been very moved to actually read it.


I am glad I did. I found it frank, open-minded and loaded with seemingly unpoliticized data about the city in which we live.


Consider this tidbit, offered on page 3: "The economic policies of the Moscow government are unconditionally supported by 2 percent of the population."


Two percent? The government itself represents more than that.


Or how about this poll result: "Almost every third Muscovite 'spits on everything and is striving to build for himself what he can.'"


The poll also found that 6 percent of Muscovites are at the end of their rope and "prepared to do anything" to get by -- even resort to crime. The report hastily noted that the figure is 13 percent in Russia at large.


I called the Moscow office responsible for Symptom to find out how one calculates the "spit on everything" quotient and the "prepared to do anything" factor.


"We ask them," said Gavriil Lvov, a contributor, noting that the poll followed "scientifically accepted" methods of the Sotsiograf institute. The data was collected during the week of Nov. 3-10 and includes the opinions of 20,545 Russians.


Other fun facts.


?While 50 percent of Muscovites "have nothing against" millionaires, 30 percent said they carried a grudge against millionaires because "in our country today, becoming a millionaire honestly is impossible."


?More than 52 percent of those polled felt that the events of Oct. 3-4 were "a national disgrace in which all organs of power were at fault."


One of my favorite sections was an examination of the response of Russians to the kind of slogans they might encounter at a rally. The slogans and positive response rates were as follows:


?For living conditions worthy of a person -- 60 percent


?Reform for Man, but not to the burden of men -- 50 percent


?For a strong presidency -- 16 percent


?Democracy is the best form of government -- 10 percent