The widely-respected Levada-Tsentr asked 1,600 Russians in 130 inhabited points in 45 regions its usual slate of Defenders’ Day questions reflecting attitudes toward the military and military service. Its margin of error is 3.4 percent.
Are there military threats to Russia from other countries?
This one ticked up a bit this year. “Definitely yes, most likely yes” rose from 47 percent last year to 53 percent this year. It’s a little higher, but not way off the norm since 2000.
Is the Russian Army capable of defending the country from a real military threat from other countries?
“Definitely yes, most likely yes” ticked down a little from 63 to 59 percent, and “most likely no, definitely no” rose from 22 to 28 percent this year.
To serve or not to serve . . . would you want your son, brother, husband, or other close relative to serve in the army?
Respondents answered 36 percent yes to service, and 54 percent no to service. This was only a slight change from last year’s 34 and 57 percent – within the error margin.
If no, why not?
Interestingly, “dedovshchina, nonregulation relations, and violence in the army” declined from 37 to 29 percent in a year when, by every official account, reported cases of barracks violence increased significantly.
Should a family member serve if called up or look for a way to evade service?
Basically unchanged from last year, 46 percent say serve, and 41 percent say look for a way to avoid it.
Lastly, a question not asked every year . . . .
How widespread is dedovshchina and abuse of young soldiers by officers and older servicemen?
“In the majority of military units” has fallen over time to 39 percent, “everywhere” has declined to 13 percent. These two answers together in 2006 were 82 percent. “In a small number of military units” and “isolated instances” have both increased over time and represent 27 and 11 percent respectively this year.