Teaching Comparative Government and Politics

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Russian political culture

Nobody gets many views of the political culture of Russia. For the most part, we hypothesize based on behavior we observe. The Levada Center has earned a reputation as a fairly accurate and honestly run polling operation. Here's the latest.

60 percent of Russians think Internet censorship is necessary, poll finds
Sixty percent of Russians believe that Internet censorship — in particular, the banning of certain websites and material — is necessary, according to a new poll.

Just 25 percent opposed the idea…

The poll was conducted by the Levada Center, an independent polling firm, which asked Russians questions about trust in media and censorship between Oct. 21 to 24. On the subject of political censorship, 32 percent of Russians said that denying access to certain websites would infringe upon the rights and freedoms of activists, while 44 percent said it did not and 24 percent could not answer.

More broadly, Russians seem to be generally skeptical about the Internet, Levada found, with 51 percent believing the Internet could not replace newspapers, radio and television…

In total, 35 percent of Russians thought the media was deceiving them frequently, while 49 percent said they felt that way only rarely…

[I]n countries such as Russia, where most mainstream news networks are strongly aligned with the government, opposition groups have been able to organize and spread criticism of the government through online media.

In April, Konstantin Malofeev, a wealthy businessman with links to the Kremlin who runs the pro-censorship lobbying group Safe Internet League, traveled to China to meet with the architects of that country's notorious “great firewall.” And this week the country moved to block the professional networking site LinkedIn as it did not house data about its Russian users within the country…

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