With only days to go before Chechnya’s presidential election, the polling service Validata has published the results of a survey conducted in the last week of September. The poll found that 66 percent of respondents said they would cast ballots on October 5. This compared to 77 percent who gave that answer when surveyed in early August.
In an interview with Sanobar Shermatova published by Moskovskie novosti on September 30, Validata’s director, Sergei Khaikin, acknowledged that some are skeptical of the possibility of conducting reliable polls in today’s Chechnya. He claimed that the firm’s interviewers, mostly teachers and university students, found that those polled are willing to criticize the authorities. But he admitted that respondents were often afraid to answer a background question that would be routine in most places outside Chechnya: How many adult male residents are in your household? It is adult males, of course, who are most likely to be kidnapped or murdered by the pro-Moscow or pro-Kadyrov forces.