Staunton, October 31 – One of the articles of faith which kept many in Soviet times committed to the system was the conviction that however bad things might be, there was a bright future ahead for them or at least their children. But now, Abbas Gallyamov says, no Russian believes in such a future anymore.
Many have been struck by the divergence between the roughly 70 percent of Russians who say they approve Vladimir Putin’s actions and the 45 percent who say that they would vote for him if he runs again. But they shouldn’t be, the former Putin speechwriter and now commentator says (rosbalt.ru/posts/2019/10/31/1810874.html).
These two things are “far from one and the same.” The first represents a reaction to current events; the second includes an evaluation of where things stand more broadly and where they are heading. “This is the difference between television and real life. And the most important thing is when deciding whom to vote for, an individual begins to think about the future.”
And although Putin’s approval rating may remain stable and high because he controls the media agenda, the basis for that approval has changed significantly over the last several years, something that isn’t always captured by sociological polls, according to the commentator. A few years back, support for him was based on the hope that he would bring “a happy future.”
But now, Gallyamov continues, “there is no such optimism. People no longer very much believe in a bright future. Now they are for Putin because they are afraid that without him things may become even worse. Thus, the nature of support for the president has changed.” It is no longer a positive but a negative thing.
Russians “do not so much hope for the future as fear it.”
Gallyamov says that to put it in simplest terms, “the difference between approval of Putin’s activities and his electoral rating is like the difference between ‘relations’ and ‘choice.’ These are different things. You may have not bad relations with your wife but if you decide not to live with her, that is the main thing in your relationship.”
“Perhaps you will remain friends even after the divorce, but you won’t be in the same family.”