FOM Defenders’ Day Poll

Time for the annual polls about the army.  And Defense Minister Serdyukov faces a sudden jump in the number of Russians who believe the situation in the army’s worsened during the past year.

The Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) conducted this poll on 12-13 February, with 1,500 respondents in 100 populated areas, in 43 of Russia’s regions.  The poll doesn’t list its margin of error.

Is the Day of the Defender of the Fatherland (23 February – Defenders’ Day) a special day? 

The yes and no answers – let’s call them two-thirds to one-third respectively – have changed little over eight years.  But those picking “difficult to answer” have increased from 5 to 14 percent over that time.

How do you evaluate the situation in the army? 

FOM shows data for the last six years, aggregated as “excellent-good,” “satisfactory,” and “poor-very poor.”  The number responding “excellent-good” has stayed low over that period, starting at 6 percent, going as low as 3 percent in 2006, as high as 11 percent in 2010, and resting at 8 percent this year.  All in all, pretty steady over the period.

“Poor-very poor” and “satisfactory” look like mirror images of each other over time.  The greatest gap between them was in 2006 when 71 percent said “poor-very poor” and 17 percent “satisfactory.”  “Satisfactory” has increased, reaching 42 percent last year, while “poor-very poor” was 33 percent.  In this year’s survey, “satisfactory” holds a slight lead at 40 percent to “poor-very poor’s” 35 percent.  This could be within or very close to the survey’s margin of error.

Is the situation in the army improving, worsening, or staying the same? 

In 2007, 31 percent thought “improving” to 11 percent “worsening.”  Four years later [exactly coinciding with Defense Minister Serdyukov’s tenure], the numbers are almost exactly reversed 35 percent say “worsening” and only 19 percent say “improving.”  And the 35 percent who say “worsening” is a real jump over previous years – 18 percent in 2006, 11 percent in 2007, and 16 percent in 2010.  In other words, the past year’s been difficult for Serdyukov’s Defense Ministry.

Respondents were also asked about some [possible] army reforms they would approve or not approve.  A few examples :

  • Extending the draft age to 30 . . . Approve – 18 percent, disapprove – 67 percent.
  • Removing deferments from students . . . Approve – 29 percent, disapprove – 57 percent.
  • Reducing the number of officers . . . Approve – 24 percent, disapprove – 52 percent.
  • Transferring the army to a contract basis, ending the draft . . . Approve – 51 percent, disapprove – 32 percent.

One response to “FOM Defenders’ Day Poll

  1. Pingback: FOM’s Poll | Russian Defense Policy

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