The state-run VTSIOM public opinion research agency on Monday released the results of the ‘fear index’ poll conducted all over the country in late December last year. According to the survey, the pattern of the index remained the same as one year ago, but levels of concern have fallen significantly.
The problem that caused most fear in the Russian public was the threat of a major international conflict, but its value was at 14 points compared with 23 points in January 2016. The second-highest fear was the threat of a major increase in retail prices, but that was also lower than a year ago: 10 points against 19.
Crime was in the third place in the fear rating with -1 points, fear of major unrest or internal conflict was at -7 points and the concern over the state of own health claimed -8 points.
Other major problems mentioned in the research were family issues and unemployment, but the index values for those were also in the negative range.
The fear index is calculated in the range between -100 and 100, depending of the perceived probability of certain events or situations mentioned in the poll.
In a brief explanation attached with the results, the head of the VTSIOM Department for Research Projects, Mikhail Mamonov, said that December was one of the calmest months in 2016 and this could be explained by two key factors. First was stability in foreign currency markets and second was the peaceful rhetoric of Russian leaders.
“The general result was the fall in the urgency of dominant fears,” Mamonov wrote.
A similar poll conducted by an independent Russian pollster Levada in October last year showed that back then 48 percent of respondents feared that the aggravation of relations between Russia and the West caused by the ongoing crisis in Syria could develop into a global military conflict. Still, 35 percent of Russians said that they hoped that that Russia and the West would eventually find a mutually-acceptable solution to the crisis.
Despite the risks, 52 percent of those surveyed said they approved of Russia’s involvement in the Syrian conflict and 26 percent said they had a negative or sharply-negative attitude to this. The remainder was unable to answer.