ZYUGANOV SLIPPING, WOMEN ADVANCING
Konservator, October 4, 2002, p. 2
The National Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) does regular polls to monitor political attitudes and preferences of Russian citizens. Poll results for September 2002 were once again unchanged and stable. There was almost no change in support figures for the president and government institutions, nor for political parties. However, if one looks more closely, some trends may be observed; as expected, given the prevailing stability, these trends are developing gradually and unnoticeably. For example, Sergei Shoigu has taken second place on the ranking of most popular politicians for three months in a row (with a confidence rating of 17-22%); Shoigu has displaced Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov. Zyuganov had ranked an undisputed second for the previous two years. Here’s another curious detail. In the party rankings, Women of Russia (at 6-7% in recent months) has practically caught up with the Union of Right Forces, the LDPR, and Yabloko, whose support figures fluctuate from 5-10%. This is despite the fact that Women of Russia doesn’t actually exist as an electoral bloc at present; while the three abovementioned parties are not only represented in parliament, but have strong organization and substantial PR budgets.
COMMUNISTS HATE THE RICH
Novaya Gazeta, October 3, 2002, p. 5
According to a September poll by the National Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), the most common attitude of Russian citizens to appearance of super-rich in Russia is indifference (39%); 6% of respondents are satisfied that there are some Russians among the world’s richest people; and 3% are proud of their compatriots. However, the majority of respondents, 59%, have extremely negative feelings about it: 28% hate the rich, and 21% are annoyed.
The less chance a person has of having access to good health care, the more hate they have for the rich; but if a respondent is sure of being able to receive good health care, they are rather satisfied or proud of Russian super-rich (29% against 14% respectfully).
Respondents with high consumer status are mostly proud of the super-rich, while people with low buying power usually hate them. Members of the Union of Right Forces and the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia are rather satisfied or proud with appearance of super-rich people in the country; while supporters of the Communist Party and those who will vote against all mostly hate them. The United Russia party and Yabloko are in the middle.
RUSSIANS DISLIKE THEIR JOBS
Versia, September 30, 2002, p. 12
Only 46% of able-bodied Russians are employed – the rest are either permanently unemployed, or temporarily unemployed, or students, or housewives. Moreover, almost half of working people dislike their jobs. Experts of the World Bank studied the state of small business in the CIS countries and concluded that in Belarus it is the least developed. The major problems for private enterprises in Belarus are very long and expensive registration and licensing processes, and constant monitoring and inspections of the State Controlling Committee. The point is that this organization duplicates the functions of financial and tax bodies and greatly interferes with normal operations of private enterprises.
RUSSIA IS LEAVING OUTER SPACE
Versia, September 30, 2002, pp. 12-13
In the near future, Russia is likely to withdraw from its commitments for construction and operation of the International Space Station (ISS). According to our sources, at present, authorities are discussing the possibility of temporary work at the station, when crews will come to the station from time to time, for instance, when they take some tourist there. By the way, the draft letter to the US NASA leadership, which informs about the unpleasant news, has already been written.
HUNTING FOR RUSSIAN SUBMARINES
Novosti razvedki i kontrrazvedki, No. 17-18, September, 2002, p. 4
A ghost-ship has been sighted in Norway’s Barents Sea waters. It tries to keep as far as possible from fishing and cruise vessels, and it seems it is seeking to remain completely anonymous.
The Norwegian Chief Commandment of the Armed Forces reported that a US military vessel is “carrying out a study near the Finnmark province”. The paper stresses that “currently, the Chief Commandment has admitted that the vessel is monitoring Russian submarines in the Barents Sea.”
UNITED STATES CUTS OFF FINANCIAL AID TO UKRAINE
Kommersant-Vlast, September 30, 2002, p. 44
Last week, President Bush gave orders to suspend financial aid to Ukraine. The official reason is that the US has received evidence that Ukraine has been selling Kolchuga air defense systems to Iraq, which are able to detect even Stealth fighters. There are different theories to explain of Bush’s decision. One says that the US is trying to help the Ukrainian opposition to come to power. However, no matter what the real reason for Bush’s decision is, he has forced Ukraine to become friends with Russia – urgently.