The attitude towards sanctions in society

Effect of Crimea accession and the attitude towards sanctions in society

Numerous opinion polls have been carried out in connection with the current situation. They indicate that the majority of Russians believe that the sanctions will affect neither Russia nor themselves. According to the results of a global survey conducted by Pew Research Center (Washington), this spring and summer, the majority of Russians (56% vs. 36%) are satisfied with the way things are going in the country. Few nationalities show such positive attitude: for comparison, in the United States only a third of the population is satisfied with the situation in the country, while in France only a quarter.

Unfortunately, a separate survey of people living in Moscow and St. Petersburg was not carried out, but apparently, residents of these largest cities in Russia are expressing quite a temperate reaction to everyone's patriotic impulse. Such a difference in the attitude supposedly could be associated with a higher level of income of the residents of the “two capitals”, the relative economic and political literacy, access to the Internet and foreign media. Besides, if talking about the food embargo, the European part of Russia suffered the most as a ban was applied on premium products.

Thus, the sanctions policy has not yet been able to change the social trend that emerged in February and March of this year. The level of support of Russian government’s actions is extremely high, reaching a peak of 80% in a middle of this summer. Then the level began to decline, as many Russians experienced the price increase, and the Crimea accession resulted in pension savings freezing, but in general the level of Putin's actions support stably maintain above 60%.

In general, it shows not only the attitude of Russians towards the events in the Ukraine and the country's role in the conflict pacification, but it also reflects the growing distrust of the politics carried out by the West. The West, in opinion of the majority, is eager to use the Ukrainian events as an excuse for curbing the growing role of Russia in world geopolitics. This social atmosphere combined with a powerful propaganda in the state media allows the Russian government to continue its policy of active protection of the Russian population in Ukraine, despite significant economic losses.

Business

The current mood of business can be characterized as a “tense awaiting”. The latest round of sanctions significantly lowered the chances on fast "defrost" of many joint projects. In addition, according to the CEO of Sberbank, foreign markets are de facto closed, attraction of external funding neither for up to three months, nor up to 30 days is no longer possible. Business-community, as in any event of uncertainty, prefer to optimize operations, reduce the activity and wait for further changes.

Elite

As for the Russian elite, it seems that many of its representatives are in a serious fear of individual sanctions that are likely to affect their enormous assets in the EU/US, as well as their relatives and children who live abroad. On the other hand, the mood of protest in their environment is not very encouraged in principle.

What is next?

Therefore, the creation of an effective PR-machine at the state level along with unfriendly actions of Western governments, allow the Russian government to maintain a high level of the approval of its actions. It gives governors a free hand for any response actions in both in external and internal politics. Even those actions which negatively affect the interests of Russians in this situation are perceived as adequate. The more educated part of Russian population certainly feels uncertainty and insecurity, nevertheless, as a whole the level of support of Russian government will remain unattainable for most EU/US politics.