Russia’s leading independent pollster, Yury Levada, has found that despite the Russian media’s increasingly monolithic line on Chechnya, willingness among ordinary Russians to accept independence for the southern republic has been slowly growing–from 8 percent in February to 11 percent in March.
As reported in the March 29 issue of Novye izvestia, Levada’s polling center conducted two surveys of Russian public opinion in March, one before the mid-March presidential election, one afterward. In one sense the election result seems to have made Russians more optimistic: In early March only one-fifth of poll respondents considered that peaceful life is returning to Chechnya, but by late March that proportion had risen to one-third.
But respondents were not so optimistic about their government’s chances of bringing the peace processes to a successful conclusion. About half said that it would take many years for the Russian authorities fully to restore order and peaceful life in Chechnya; one-fourth thought that the authorities would never succeed.