Yekaterinburg has shown that the direct and familiar officials of gross manipulation of opinion is no longer held. But there is a much more sophisticated options.
In the capital of the Middle Ural authorities have — against their will — to spend such a rare act in Russia the will of the citizens regarding the construction of the temple of the Russian Orthodox Church in the square. Format is cut with the requested referendum is not quite a legitimate format “poll with a promise to follow his results” citizens do not buy into the first promises of the “street survey” and “survey on the website of the municipality”, and demanded and obtained voting at polling stations as the election. It is obvious that now the protesters should fight for the wording of the questions. “Rosbalt” asked the experts how likely further attempts of falsification, and at what levels of difficulty you can expect them? Can we say that citizens have become more difficult to cheat?
Valery Solovey, doctor of historical Sciences, political analyst:
“The authorities in Yekaterinburg, as well as any power in the Russian Federation is not ready to admit defeat, because she will do everything possible in order to disavow the achievements of the protesters. But I am inclined to believe that she did not dare to go on falsification. Rather, we will focus on the attempts of a relatively soft, civilized influence on the will — with the help of propaganda, any programming surveys.
Coarse impact and falsification of results will be a red rag to a bull. And now the hope is that people will relax, summer is coming, and all will be prone to some softer decisions.
I would not have placed much hope on the “mobilized” urban activists, especially in the summer. Organizations that are not there. This decentralized mobilization. I think they behave like ordinary citizens. Well, maybe they will be of interest to the survey can be involved — what I hope sincerely in reaching its formulation.
I am inclined to believe that a significant role could play the Yeltsin center, providing a platform for discussion. The opposition of their facilities in Ekaterinburg no. Power platform gives you the benefit of the authorities, of course, but neutral court, with the mediation of the Yeltsin centre could be granted to them. It would benefit all parties to the conflict — and all those involved, and anyone interested in conflict resolution. I mean, the Church, and oligarchs, and the city government, and provincial government, and protesters.
The Yeltsin center, which is near the optimum place to conduct a public debate, to debate in the square, not square, but it was there. And then, I think that it will be possible to try to work out some kind of procedure, to provide at least a minimum of trust”.
Evgeny Potapov, a political scientist:
“We see that the urban community of Yekaterinburg have shown themselves intelligent enough to manipulate them to the authorities is quite difficult.
Manipulation must have a purpose. If the objective of manipulation: to build a temple on the spot which had already been protests — it square, “the Church on the water” or the square of 1905 — that such a survey will initially cause the rejection of the urban community. Everyone will understand that power is returned to the previous topic. So I think that is likely to be proposed more or less real places, which will be agreed with the diocese, with investors, and that you can actually discuss, not just to convince the citizens through manipulation of numbers, saying, let us build the place, which has already elicited protests.
Now there is some fork in the road. You can go the way of a normal dialogue with the urban community and to discuss a mutually acceptable location that will suit everyone. But, of course, you can go along the path of manipulation, although I think it will be so obvious that even the proposal itself — but let’s discuss these places — will cause rejection. However, I’m not surprised at anything, to be honest.
Authorities became much harder to ignore the opinion of citizens. First, because it was a direct command of the President to consider. Suppose that in some strange form, but nevertheless, this indication is. And secondly, we have a poll showing the real mood of the citizens, which is difficult to explain the intervention of the “state Department” or other “cosmic forces”. And if we realize that 55% of citizens currently oppose the construction of a temple in a particular place, then it is not to raise the subject, and to find an alternative site in the course of the dialogue on this site to put the temple and have to calm down”.
Anna Ochkina, head of the Center for social analysis IGSO, sociologist, candidate of philosophical Sciences:
“The authorities really became harder to ignore public opinion. In many ways, this contributed to the protests against raising the retirement age last summer, and let in a small number of regions, but still a protest vote. It is possible that it was a protest and in other regions, just where it was easier to deal with it.
Of course, the authorities feel the public mood. I think they focus not on opinion polls but on the real public opinion, which in any way monitor or just feel. And in anticipation of the election of governors or the legislative Assembly of power are becoming more and more flexible.
With regard to the situation in Yekaterinburg and the upcoming survey of residents on the issue of temple construction, the manipulation and discharge of protest, they certainly will. The protest will “organize,” to subdue, etc. And the mobilization of urban activists in Yekaterinburg have not yet reached such a level in order to successfully counteract this.
But the fact is that any victory over this kind of protest would be temporary. Dissatisfaction is rolled, and the Sverdlovsk region Yekaterinburg is one of the protest regions. Of course, the authorities promise that it will organizuyut, maybe some of the Communist party or the liberal democratic party will lead a protest, so it’s a little to restrain. But after a while it will break in another place.”
Ilya Graschenkov, Director of the Center for the development of regional policy:
“Before, the public and the government were living “parallel lines”. The concept of the idea of “Putin’s majority” or, as it recently Vladislav Surkov was renamed “deep people,” consisted in the fact that these branches are separated: the power somewhere on the external borders is fighting for the greatness of Russia, provides a guaranteed level of stability, and the people behind it will not go into politics. Well, the power will not go into personal Affairs. Today it has become more difficult these two can’t overlap.
The situation in Ekaterinburg just says that free resources come to an end, and the authorities from time to time have to reallocate that people openly believes his “fiefdom”, where officials did not have to reach. This is the border conflict. Not that the authorities can not defend his line, but just before she did not have to do that. Her fear is that, as you don’t overdo it. Power probes the outer limits of handling this, is not very clear to her by people who either amorphous, or Patriotic, or, conversely, annoyed.
And people the same: he tries to understand where the boundaries are, beyond which the government may reverse its decisions and to clash with each other. In Yekaterinburg in fact there was a conflict the Federal government and local officials: the Federal government has not supported local officials, forcing him to change the decision under the pressure of public opinion.
These two points are trying to find both sides in the near future and will be the indicator of who is gradually winning political space: it fully reserves the power or is it already kind of people.
Now the problem is rather not that be a falsification of the results of the survey, how the applicability of certain technologies in order to implement the procedure of the survey as it will be beneficial to the authorities. Talking about how they formulated questions, who exactly will poll as many residents will take part in this survey will be published as open data. In their publication, too, there are many issues that could become points of conflict. Anyone would recognize the legitimacy of the survey, someone will refuse to recognize the fact of his carrying out this scheme and will require alternatives or to insist that polls are irrelevant. There are conflict situations can be no less than in the event of any fraud in the counting.
But if they suddenly happen, it will cause a chain of distrust of the government that it will surpass the conflict, which has already developed. So do not think that those who follow the instructions of Vladimir Putin to conduct this poll, will try to adjust its results directly in the counting of votes”.