‘Russia has nowhere to retreat in the international arena’

Polls show that 85% of Tatarstan citizens support Putin and his political course

‘Russia has nowhere to retreat in the international arena’
Photo: Динар Фатыхов

The choice that will determine the fate of Russia and its people is the main reason why Tatarstan citizens should come to the polling stations this weekend and vote, the participants of the Volga expert club are convinced. The main topics of this Monday's meeting were the results of the election campaign and the image of the country's future proposed by the presidential candidates. According to polls, about 85% of the republic's residents are going to fulfill their civic duty. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

'We see who is the leader of this election race'

Before the meeting, the experts presented the results of two recent sociological studies in Tatarstan and discussed the impact of the president's message to the Federal Assembly. One of the surveys was conducted on the Runet, experts studied the opinions of users of the social networks Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, Telegram messenger and the Yandex platform. Tatarstan adults participated in the survey, a total of 1,588 people. The results showed that 95% of respondents know when the Russian presidential elections are held, and about 90% confirmed that they go to vote.

“We see who is the leader of this election race, who has the second and third places. First of all, the opinions of the respondents are influenced by where, on what resources the candidates and their parties are present and how they present their programmes," said Marsel Gilmeyev, the head of a separate department of the Dialogue Regions NGO in the Republic of Tatarstan.

“We see who is the leader of this election race, who has the second and third places," said Marsel Gilmeyev. Динар Фатыхов / realnoevremya.ru

The survey was organised at the KFU Sociological Research Laboratory, and by its order, the Tatarstan Public Opinion Foundation conducted a second study by telephone survey. 1,200 respondents participated in it. It showed that 85% of respondents are ready to go to the polls and the same number will cast their votes for the current president of the country. Vladislav Davankov and Nikolai Kharitonov scored 6% each, and Leonid Slutsky scored 3%. As part of the previous questionnaire survey, which was conducted in early February through house-to-house canvassing, 89% of respondents were ready to vote for Vladimir Putin, which experts attributed to his upcoming visit to Tatarstan for the opening of the Games of the Future tournament.

Naila Zinnatullina, the director of the Institute of Urban Development of Tatarstan, commenting on the president's message, noted two important news. This is the allocation of another 360 billion rubles to continue the project of creating a comfortable urban environment within the framework of the Housing and Urban Environment national project, as well as the extension of the federal All-Russian competition for small towns and historical settlements until 2030. “Tatarstan is both the qualitative and quantitative leader of this competition, it is a huge support for the republic," she stressed.

Alexander Terentyev, a member of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, deputy head of the Committee on Regulations and Organisation of Parliamentary Activities, linked the growth of support for Vladimir Putin with the main messages in his recent address to parliament: “If we had seen quite high numbers before and there was a consolidation of society around the president's political course, because he acts as the leader of the nation and one of the world leaders with a high rating, here his strategy was concretised within the framework of the message. There were many initiatives that go far beyond the scope of the special military operation. The strategic initiatives aimed at ensuring that the industry develops for social programmes to be implemented.”

“Before that, there was a consolidation of society around the president's political course, because he acts as the leader of the nation," Alexander Terentyev noted. Динар Фатыхов / realnoevremya.ru

“These are questions from life, so they have found a wide response”

Opening the meeting of the club, political consultant, CEO of the Darwin Theory agency and moderator Vladimir Kutilov noted that the recent presidential address, which was of a strategic programmatic nature and was addressed to all residents, plays an important role in shaping the future. Alexander Terentyev agreed and announced that this year there will be about 70 major election campaigns around the world, and it is important for the heads of states to be in good political and physical shape:

“We see what a wonderful shape the president of Russia is in. This could not help but be captivating, because most people had previously chosen 'strong Russia' as the key word for the image of the future. And this power rests on such value orientations as moral and spiritual, family, and I would also add the tasks set within the framework of the special military operation. Therefore, for me, first of all, this is how the president spoke to us and what image he outlined for Russians. And how to achieve this image of the future is clearly indicated by the example of what priorities should be in industry, in various sectors.”

Moreover, he added, this is not a new course of the president, as part of the message it was detailed with a clear message until 2030. “But what exactly resonated in the hearts of Russians?" the moderator asked, because the president touched on a very wide range of topics: from nuclear weapons to retaking the Unified State Exam. The speaker did not reduce everything only to social tasks, in his opinion, the messages in the field of international politics and others were no less important: “He spoke on the basis of what he heard, communicating with people on trips, as part of interaction with various categories of the population. These are questions from life, so they have found a wide response.”

Opening the meeting of the club, moderator Vladimir Kutilov (left) noted that the president's message plays an important role in shaping the future. Динар Фатыхов / realnoevremya.ru

Marsel Gilmeyev recalled earlier studies that concerned national projects. In addition to questions about what people care about, experts were interested in what citizens would like to see in the future: “We heard many of the requests that they voiced in the president's address to parliament. We saw that the message is based on a real picture of what is happening in our country and what people are interested in.” Speaking about the latest poll, the majority of respondents explained their support for Putin in about the same way:

“People explained this way: 'Now it is important to maintain stability in the country, including in power. He has no equal among Russian politicians, and Vladimir Putin is doing a good job of his duties.' These are the conclusions we have drawn.”

Turning to the results of the study, the expert explained why experts were interested in segmental analysis on the Web. The researchers wanted to study how candidates and their activities are reflected on various resources and identified a certain difference. Nikolay Kharitonov scored 8% of the total votes, taking second place. 6% are ready to vote for Vladislav Davankov, the third place. For Leonid Slutsky — 3%. Moreover, the latter has such indicators everywhere, while the first two have different results depending on the platform. So, Kharitonov is in the lead among users of the VKontakte and Odnoklassniki social networks, but Davankov is ahead of him in Telegram. In Yandex, both of these candidates scored 6.5% each.

“The reasons that could affect such a distribution are the representation of candidates in certain social networks, respectively, the influence of their parties in these segments. Besides, this is a certain background of these candidates, how they are connected with Tatarstan, the influence of the parties that represent candidates in our republic. Their experience, which they are implementing here. Well, first of all, these are the policy statements that they voice," the expert explained.

The speaker also noted the great influence on Tatarstan residents of the projects initiated by Putin — they are being implemented quite actively in Tatarstan, and as a result — the achievements of the republic in industry, IT, sports and many other areas.

Maria Eflova, the deputy director of the Institute of Social and Philosophical Sciences and Mass Communications of the KFU, Doctor of Sociology, told in more detail about the second study. The specialist pointed out the instability of support for Slutsky and Davankov in Tatarstan: “About 20% and 35% of their voters believe that their opinion at the polling station may change. That is, it is such a support, but people are still thinking. I think that, most likely, we will have some adjustments in the second, third and fourth places at the polling stations.”

Maria Eflova pointed out the instability of support for Slutsky and Davankov in Tatarstan. Динар Фатыхов / realnoevremya.ru

“Stability is not a request for irremovability, it is a request for the future”

Alexander Terentyev believes that if Davankov, Kharitonov and Slutsky gain 15% each, then “they will be just fine in the situation that exists.” According to him, Putin has completed tasks behind him, so there should be “no miracles” here, and these figures are “the maximum that other candidates can count on.”

According to experts, the majority of respondents who support the current head of the state agree on one thing — this is the realisation that society in Russia must be consolidated in order to protect the country. As Vladimir Kutilov noted: “Stability in this sense is not a request for irremovability, it is a request for development and the future in a situation of a rather aggressive external environment. Secondly, this is a request for justice, and the answer to it was in the message, in particular in fiscal policy. Even in the question of the Unified State Exam, this is the answer to the request for justice.”

The speaker also cited the example of the third request — for a comfortable life, since none of the social programmes in the country are planned to be curtailed. All obligations have been fulfilled and will continue to be fulfilled. “Every year we expect that in case of any difficulties, the first thing that will be cut is, for example, an improvement programme. It seems that this is just not vital. But I will note that even this topic was touched upon by the president. Were there any such concerns?" the moderator addressed Nailya Zinnatullina and received an affirmative answer.

Nevertheless, according to the director of the Institute of Urban Development of Tatarstan, the work within the framework of creating a comfortable urban environment in the country, and in the republic in particular, is actively continuing: “We have certainly noticed the changes that are taking place with city centers, squares, streets, and embankments. Each of us has definitely visited, for example, Kaban Lake in Kazan. This is just a real physical reflection of the work of the national project Housing and Urban Environment. And all our public spaces are considered a kind of third place, that is, it is not home, not work, this is the space through which we pass on the way to study, to work, relax, come there with the children.” All these public spaces are necessary for people, so the president paid great attention to the development of a comfortable urban environment in his message. A lot of work on the improvement of squares and parks in Tatarstan has been going on since 2015, hundreds of renovated facilities have been on account.

According to Nailya Zinnatullina, work within the framework of creating a comfortable urban environment in the country, and in the republic in particular, is actively continuing. Динар Фатыхов / realnoevremya.ru

“And how many people have passed through them. This is all what is called the involvement and passion of people in creating the image that they would like to see in their territories," Alexander Terentyev noted.

“In fact, a new aesthetics of cities has been created in almost 10 years," Vladimir Kutilov added and asked what the image of the future of Tatarstan's cities would be. Nailya Zinnatullina noted that when we talk about the image of the future, it is important to separate the types of settlements, because the capital has one, a small town has another, and an industrial one has a third. But regardless of the size of the space and the funding limit, unified solutions can be used to create a comfortable environment. The plans include working with natural territories, areas adjacent to medical institutions, as well as spaces that are the first to welcome guests of the republic.

“These are the entrance gates to the city, or the territories adjacent to railway stations, bus stations. That's what meets a person. Let's take Arsk, a huge number of people travel by train to work in Kazan. They see this space twice every day. For them, it is a portal to their home. And it certainly should look the part. These are priority areas for us, starting this year," said Nailya Zinnatullina.

“We are a united country, we determine our future”

Returning to the topic of the upcoming National vote, experts noted the difficult conditions in which it will take place: a flurry of anti-Russian sanctions, Western pressure with the NATO military machine. According to experts, from an economic point of view, much has boomeranged in Western Europe, which is beneficial for the United States, which is “burying Europe as a competitor”. Of course, “the goal is to get them to deal with us, and then, apparently, they have China on the horizon”.

“Russia found itself in these conditions. We need to look at which components affect the development of the economy. First of all, of course, these are external challenges. In this regard, building a just world order based on international law and mutual respect for different countries is also a step towards building a just and economic world based on fair economic relations," Alexander Terentyev stressed.

Building a just world order based on mutual respect between different countries is also a step towards a just and economic world, Alexander Terentyev stressed. Динар Фатыхов / realnoevremya.ru

Therefore, today there are already 10 BRICS countries, about 30 leaders of states will come to Russia, expressing their growing sympathy for our country, he noted. “Foreign policy is a continuation of domestic policy, it is a new trade and economic relationship. Therefore, on the one hand, we are building a new world order in which trade and economic relations would be based on equal relations. That is, we clearly understand that Russia is pursuing its own policy, and the position of the president of Russia is clear. There is nowhere for Russia to retreat in the international arena today. We only need to move forward.”

At the same time, according to him, the special military operation opened our eyes to many problems and to who the “so-called partners” actually turned out to be. Today, Russia has reviewed a lot, having been left without support in the machine tool industry, aircraft industry and other industries due to Western sanctions. New programmes have appeared, and the domestic industry has received serious support. Speaking about the oligarchs who lost their investments in the West, the president, according to the speaker, appealed to them: “not to lose anything, you need to invest here, you can develop here”. From the point of view of personal income of citizens, income growth and standard of living, two vectors of development are proposed. The first is to increase economic well-being through the development of production, domestic potential of the country and support for SMEs. The second is a fair social policy.

Summing up the meeting, the participants were urged to summarise why it is important for Tatarstan citizens to come to the polls. Alexander Terentyev noted that Putin is a strong, strong-willed leader who has a vision for the future, a clear programme and results: “If we really want to solve the tasks that the country faces, of course, we must support our leader, the political line that he implements, to build a strong Russia, in particular which is comfortable for people of various nationalities and ages to live in, where to live and work comfortably.”

Marsel Gilmeyev gave three reasons. First, the fulfillment of one's civic duty. Secondly, for the sake of answering the question of how a person sees their future and the future of their family and country. Thirdly, come and vote with their heart.

Maria Eflova cited students as an example, since she works in the higher education system. For them, first of all, it is important to show responsibility. According to her, the participation of young people in the elections inspires them, helps them build new cities and spaces, and feel involved.

Maria Eflova cited students as an example, since she works in the higher education system. Динар Фатыхов / realnoevremya.ru

Nailya Zinnatullina reminded that in conditions of choice, we live daily and our decisions depend on our present or tomorrow. In this case, it is an opportunity that will determine the future for 6 years ahead, not only for yourself, but also for your loved ones, children — “this is a portal to the future”, she is convinced.

According to Vladimir Kutilov, we are in a situation in which, of course, personal participation is important. “We need a commander-in-chief with popular support. If someone wants to pull the tiger's tail at election time, this is everyone's right. The main thing is for a person to exercise this right and show that we are a united country, we determine our future, we have the right to make decisions about how we live, where to move, what to teach children, what values to instill in our children. This is our sovereign national Russian law," the expert concluded.

Vasilya Shirshova

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