Russians are more satisfied with their lives!


Dear me, Anatoly Karlin via Twitter drew my attention to a rather interesting poll by the Levada Center, which asked the Russians to say about the overall satisfaction with their lives and that of Russia. Now, in contrast to the journalists «The Economist», wrote about this in August, I’m not going to accept the results of a survey as a solid proof of anything. With the "scientific basis" of public opinion polls have enough problems, so the results should always be taken with a healthy skepticism.

However, if we take as a basis the method «The Economist» (ie, a random comparison of surveys in 2000 and 2011, and use this information for a number of reputable remarks about Russian society), just imagine what I could do with the following figures:

The question: "Are you satisfied now life that lead?" That’s the percentage of people who answered "strongly and largely satisfied"

2000 — 21%
2011 — 41%

It may be noted that in 2011, that number had more than doubled, compared to 2000, in the good old days, when Putin has killed democracy and jailed Mikhail Khodorkovsky. The fact that many Russians are satisfied with their lives, can be easily explained by the rapid improvement of the economic situation in Russia, in particular, a significant increase in wages over the last decade, but it is very difficult to reconcile with the apocalyptic forecasts that the country "amputated the future" or something associated with the growth of radicalism in the current circumstances.

Or, if the above poll seems unsatisfactory, we can look at another question to be asked in the same study: "How would you assess the economic situation in Russia?" This is the percentage of respondents who answered "very good" and "good":

2000 — 2%
2011 — 12%

Here, the response rate "average"

2000 — 26%
2011 — 47%

But the percentage of answers "very bad" and "bad":

2000 — 61%
2011 — 35%

As you can clearly see, the Russians believe that in 2011 the state of the economy is much better than in 2000. And you know, it’s not drugged Kremlin tales, they are right! By all objective measures, the economy of Russia in 2011, in fact, much healthier and wealthier than the Russian economy in 2000 (which is not hard to figure out). This does not mean that the authorities acted in the best way, in each case, or even, in most cases, it is merely a recognition of reality is quite obvious — a substantial and sustained growth of GDP per capita.

If someone wanted to, he could have used the above data to manipulate, or the reliable protection of "Putinism" and, even, to maintain that there is no reason for complaint: people are happier than before, they are more satisfied with the state of the economy. However, I believe that we should not protect those in power, or to say that in Russia all the "hunks dori" ("Hunky Dory" is similar in meaning "Dont Worry" and "Be Happy" — "all right", "all is well" — approx. lane.). Anyone who tries to honestly look at Russia understands that it faces a lot of problems (corruption, bureaucracy, "legal nihilism" and so on), and the ability to cope with these problems raises many doubts, even the biggest optimists . Russia to continue its growth and development in fact it will hold a series of difficult, complex and expensive reforms are very important main part of its economic structure.

But now, in the analysis of a range of socio-economic indicators are quite clear (even without the above data, surveys by the Levada Center) that today Russia has not increased the number of dissatisfied, compared with the recent past, that did not increase the risk of revolution. And, of course, there was no dramatic surge anti-Kremlin sentiment. Although, perhaps, they want to make life better, and this is a secret desire of improvements could be an incentive for the authorities during deep and prolonged economic stagnation, Russians in general seem to think that things are not so bad. In fact, compared to the doom and gloom that usually appear in the opinion polls, Russians may show an unexpected degree of optimism in the answers to some important questions.

In conclusion: Russia — is extremely complex and often contradictory place, and we can firmly stand on any of these points of view: a) "is hell, where life is impossible," or b) "Everything!". You can easily find data to support their arguments. Trying to see the big picture and weigh the good and bad — is not easy, and I will not pretend that it is always perfectly cope with this, but it is vitally important if you want to understand where the country is. In fact, as far as I can understand the frustration Putin, coupled with an attitude to the "tandem" — a phenomenon that is almost exclusively related to the elite. However, in the first place in order to give it more expressive, it was presented as a popular among the people and the democratic movement.

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