Tag Archives: Public Opinion Foundation

Through the Public’s Eye

How does the Russian military look in the public’s eye?  The Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) asked recently, and the answers showed a fairly substantial improvement in the average citizen’s view of the capabilities of the armed forces.

The poll indicates the constant Russian media drumbeat on rearmament has affected public perceptions of the military’s capabilities.  Its unopposed march through Crimea this spring probably contributed as well, but no survey questions addressed this.

FOM asked, if extra government funding were available, would respondents use it on military or civilian needs. Those polled still strongly prefer civilian uses (55% vs. 61% in early 2012).

Seventy-four percent of those surveyed now think the armed forces are capable of ensuring the country’s security (vs. only 49% in early 2013).  Those who think not dropped to seven percent (vs. 23% in 2013).

Are They Capable?

Are They Capable?

In response to an open follow-up question, 21 percent said the military is capable because it has all combat equipment it needs.

Asked if the military’s combat capability is increasing, decreasing, or not changing, 64 percent said increasing (vs. 38% in 2013).  Only 12 percent said not changing (vs. 30% in 2013).

In an open follow-up, 20 percent said expedited outfitting, development of defense industry, and new weapons are all necessary for increasing the combat capability of the armed forces.

At the same time, 63 percent indicated Russia has a sufficient amount of modern arms and equipment (vs. 43% in 2013). Sixty-five percent think the share of modern weapons is increasing; 41 percent thought so in 2013.

The survey also asked respondents to rate their knowledge of the situation and problems in the armed forces.  These numbers were basically unchanged.  In this survey and in 2013, less than 30 percent said they knew them “well” or considered themselves “not badly” informed.  Slightly less than 70 percent said they didn’t know much or were poorly informed.

But, as the saying goes, opinions are something everyone has.

About one-third reported having relatives, friends, or acquaintances in the military; about two-thirds said they don’t.

The poll was done on 23-24 August with responses from 1,500 participants in 43 regions and 100 populated areas.  Its margin of error is not greater than 3.6 percent.

FOM also offers a complete breakdown of its survey results from the webpage for those who’d like to download them.  It shows them by age, sex, political preference, education, income, etc.

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.