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Thursday, March 15, 2018

The Americans recorded the process of nationalization of the Russian elite

American sociologists have published the data of poll of representatives of the Russian establishment. The results indicate that support for Putin’s policies in the elite is even higher than the national average. This is surprising only to those who relied on apical coup in Russia – and ignoring the ongoing process of nationalization of the elites.

New York University, Hamilton College” pursuing his studies in Russia every four years since 1993, and has recently published the results of a new survey conducted in February – March 2016.

“The vast majority of respondents believes that Russia’s national interests extend beyond its territory”

Interviews were held with almost two and a half hundred of Russian leaders – from the government and the presidential administration, Parliament, state companies and private business, science and the media, the army and security services. Interviewed leaders and their deputies, and in the case of Parliament and government Ministers, Deputy Ministers, MPs and senators. The survey, of course, anonymous, but it is interesting how the current results and dynamics.

Asked about what they consider the main threats for Russia, foreign policy, Putin and parties. And it turned out that the elite – a split which even on the apical coup relied as domestic opponents of Putin and the Atlanticist – tuned even more Patriotic than the nation as a whole. It is clear that not all could answer sincerely, in addition, about 80 people opted out – but still get a representative opinion poll of the highest item.

The majority of respondents, 79 percent, thinks it unlikely that in the next ten years a President would be someone other than Vladimir Putin (this is the wording of the question Americans). Only less than 18 percent consider this scenario likely.

It is interesting that almost the same number – 79.4 percent – considers it unlikely that any party other than United Russia, will come to power. Although there are a number of indications that the situation is developing in the direction of create in the Parliament a new “Putin majority”, including through the coalition “bears” with other political forces.

A General assessment of the current political system has increased markedly compared to previous surveys. Almost half of respondents, 43 percent, believes the existing political system best suited to Russia. The choice they are offered four options – the Soviet system in the old form, the Soviet system in a more democratic form, the current system and democracy of the Western type.

In 2004, when I started to ask this question, as in 2008, was leading democratized the Soviet system – it was considered optimal to 40 percent “elitist”. In 2012, on the first place came the current system – but then if it was chosen by 30 percent, now support level increased by almost half. The number of adherents of the Western model in the past years ranged from 15 to 27 percent and now there are 19.

What caused sympathy for the current system? Hardly the satisfaction of the General state of Affairs in the country, from how to operate different authorities. Most likely, it has been influenced by Putin’s personal authority and understanding of the importance of strong presidential power. The fact that a large part of the elite looks at the situation in the country not through rose-colored glasses and adequately assesses the threats and challenges, it is clear from the answer to the corresponding question.

Were asked to choose three factors that most threaten national security – the inability of authorities to cope with internal problems, the growth of the military forces of the United States and the possibility of border conflicts with other countries of the CIS. In the first place, 32 percent put domestic problems. Understanding that the main threat to Russia are of our own troubles, has not changed since 1993.

However, if in the 90s thought so more than half of respondents, by 2004, the year of the end of the first term of Putin’s presidency, the number had fallen to 22 percent. In 2008 and 2012 the proportion of those who puts in first place the internal problems grew – reaching in the “swamp” year of almost 40 percent. Now you can see the anxiety reduction, but still a third of the managerial personnel think that domestic problems the main danger. They are ahead of even the threat of terrorism, which is the main chose 22 percent of respondents.

And rightly so – because no matter how great the external calls (and they are, without doubt, only increase), yet, as shown by our history, the cause of great upheaval always had internal contradictions. If the country has a strong government that seeks solutions to the major problems with society, then no external testing is not critical.

Therefore, such a small number of respondents consider the main threat to national security American military power, or border conflicts – only 7.4 and 4.5 percent, respectively. These are the lowest figures for all the investigations. But it is not a consequence of underestimating the threats posed to Russia’s plans Atlanticist – which is evident from the answer to the question about the US attitude toward Russia.

The Americans asked the Russian leaders on how, in their opinion, can be characterized Washington’s attitude toward Moscow, and received record high numbers of those who evaluated it as “rather hostile” or “very hostile”: 88 percent. It is not only the highest figure for all years of surveys – it is even higher than among Russians in General.

Whether tells it about the anti-Americanism of the Russian elite, as already interpretiruya the results of a survey in the United States? No, it says first and foremost that our product gains the ability to see the real foreign situation.

Of course, it was also caused by the Ukrainian crisis and the sanctions war. These events really opened his eyes even many of the cosmopolitan and Pro-Western Russian elitist. It is not surprising therefore that among them is even higher than in Russia on average, the proportion of those who did not believe the annexation of Crimea a violation of international law – such 88.4 percent.

Higher than the national average, and the proportion of those who agree with the fact that we intervened in the Syrian conflict in order to neutralize and eliminate the threat of proliferation of military activity of the Islamic radicals and terrorists in Russia – such 76 percent.

Very revealing answer to the question about the national interests of Russia – the Americans were asked to choose one of two options: they are mostly limited to the modern territory of the country or they mostly extend beyond the territory of Russia. In the 90-ies and until the end of the decade the vast majority of respondents chose the second option – from 88 to 64 percent. This is understandable – at least the post-Soviet space has always been perceived as a natural area of national interest. But at the turn of the tenths of years there has been a clear change in the consciousness of the elite – in 2012, only 43 per cent chose this answer, while 56 felt that Russia has no interests outside the present Russian Federation. This result gave the 2012 survey – which was most unusual for the time of the research.

The explanation is simple – by this time reached its maximum influence “offshore aristocracy”, and it is clear that among the respondents “Hamilton College” was much and its representatives. But in the same year, after the return of Putin to the Kremlin, frustrated revenge “the best people” was disrupted, and many of them lost their posts or just stretched abroad, in the area of his “personal interests”.

So that the course of Putin’s nationalization and renewal of the elite, not only the conflict with the United States and the struggle for Ukraine, led to the fact that the survey data 2016 in this paragraph fundamentally different from the results of four years ago.

Now less than 18 per cent, i.e. three times less respondents agreed that the national interests of our country confined to its territory. And more than 82 percent supported the expansion of Russia”, as written by the American researchers.

But it’s not the expansion is the return. And not only to the Russian world and on the world stage, but, most importantly, to the state of the country when its elite is not divorced from the people, and is part of it, expresses its interests and heard his opinion. To a situation where the national elite protects national, that have shared interests.

This is only possible if the ruling class is a really the best people in the country, the national-minded statesmen. Towards this, we are still very much to do – but, judging even according to American research, the process is already in full swing.

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