Publication: North Caucasus Weekly Volume: 8 Issue: 11

On March 13, Gazeta.ru reported that a poll by the independent Levada Center found that only 33 percent of Russians believe that Ramzan Kadyrov can be trusted while 35 percent believe he cannot be trusted. Another 32 percent of the respondents said they were not sure whether or not Kadyrov can be trusted. Asked whether they thought Kadyrov could normalize the situation in Chechnya and end the bloodshed there, 31 percent said yes, 38 percent said no and 31 percent said they were not sure. According to Gazeta.ru, polls suggest that Russians continue to view Chechnya with alarm and anxiety, with two-thirds saying the situation in the republic is “tense” and 10 percent calling it “critical.”

Citing Levada Center data collected in January and February of this year, Gazeta.ru reported that the public’s general view of the situation in Chechnya and the North Caucasus has not fundamentally changed over the last three months. In fact, the number of people who think “the war is continuing” in Chechnya increased in February while the number who thought peace was being established there decreased. The number of respondents who said there should be negotiations with separatists remains steady at around 70 percent, while only 16 percent believe the military campaign in Chechnya should continue, which is five percent fewer than in December 2006. Asked how they thought the situation in Chechnya was covered in the Russian media, 49 percent said they thought the coverage is superficial and does not give a clear sense of what is happening, while 28 percent said it is not objective and “hides” the problems that exist there. Only 11 percent said they were happy with media coverage of Chechnya.