Publication: Monitor Volume: 4 Issue: 207

However bad things are in Russia, they seem not to be translating into support for its Communist Party (KPRF) and others in the radical and “national patriotic” opposition. Turnout for opposition rallies on November 7 was very light: According to Russia’s Interior (which, granted, is not a completely trustworthy source), only 280,000 people across Russia took part in demonstrations on Saturday. In Moscow, the turnout was estimated to be in the range of 5000 to 7000 (Russian agencies, November 8). A poll recently released by the Russian Independent Institute for Social and National Problems may help explain the low turnout. It found that only 13 percent of Russians share the communists’ ideology, while 37 percent could be characterized as “depoliticized.” Forty percent of those polled, however, said they believed that the KPRF might come to power in Russia in the near future (Russian agencies, November 7).

Meanwhile, “Itogi,” NTV television’s weekly news analysis program, reported Sunday the results of its weekly presidential preference poll, carried out by the Public Opinion Foundation. It found that if elections had been held Sunday, 18 percent of those polled would have voted for Zyuganov, who was in first place. But Prime Minister Yevgeny Primakov had climbed into second place, with the support of 15 percent of those polled–up six points from three weeks ago, when he was first included on the list. Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov was in third place, with 13 percent; Krasnoyarsk Governor Aleksandr Lebed in fourth place, with 12 percent; Yabloko leader Grigory Yavlinsky in fifth, with 10 percent. The same poll found that 23 percent would have voted for the communists if parliamentary elections had been held on Sunday. Yabloko came in second place for parliament, with 13 percent (NTV, November 8).