DW survey: Russians fear spread of euro crisis | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 12.09.2012
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DW survey: Russians fear spread of euro crisis

Russians are concerned the euro crisis could trigger their own debt crisis. According to DW-Trend, Russian economic instabilty could spark increased protests across the country.

Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of Russians fear the European debt crisis could trigger an economic crisis in Russia, according to the latest DW-Trend on Russia. The poll, which surveyed 1000 Russians from 20 August to 3 September 2012, was conducted by the Ukraine office of the IFAK institute for marketing and polling.

Faith in Putin

While Russians fear the European debt crisis could destabilize the Russian economy, their confidence in their own government's economic competence outweighs their anxiety. The latest DW-Trend shows 51 percent of respondents believe the Russian government could cope with an economic crisis. However, 33 percent are skeptical as to whether it could.

What's significant is that the younger generation, in particular, has more confidence in the government's economic competence than their elders. Among those between 18 and 29, 56 percent believe the Russian government would be able to handle an economic crisis compared to 46 percent of those between 40 and 49.

Economy impetus for protest

Despite this relatively large show of confidence in the government, herein also lies a certain challenge. Previous DW-Trends have revealed that economic problems could lead to protest. According to the latest poll too, 44 percent believe that the willingness of Russian citizens to protest has not changed; 22 percent thought it would increase, while 20 percent thought it would decrease.

However, currently, only one in ten respondents would participate in protests. Willingness to protest is lower among the young: as few as 8 percent of the 18 to 29 age group said they were willing to protest, whereas among the 40- to 49-year-olds it's almost double at 14 percent, reflecting the disappointment common among older people.

Economic concerns outweigh political

Economic issues were a far bigger motivation for protest than political concerns. For instance, 14 percent of respondents said political grievances such as electoral fraud, persecution of dissidents and restrictions on human rights would motivate them to demonstrate. Whereas 64 percent said they would protest about bad economic conditions, such as excessive price increases, social injustice, and cuts in social benefits.

The latest DW-Trend clearly shows that Russian citizens indeed trust their government and President Vladimir Putin. They believe their country's economy would be in safe hands with the government should the impact of the euro crisis spread to Russia. However, people's readiness to protest on matters relating to the economy is high. If Putin were to disappoint the many citizens who trust his economic competence, this would result in considerable damage, not just to the Russia's economy, but also to his government.

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