In May, Russians’ concern about Western sanctions against Russia decreased, according to the latest survey results by Levada, the Russian Research center. The first shock of the sanctions has passed. Among the various restrictions, respondents are most concerned about the freezing of Russian assets abroad, although young people are more concerned about restrictions on Visa and Mastercard and the departure of Western brands. Respondents consider the price increase to be the main consequence of sanctions. At the same time, three-quarters of respondents believe that Russia should continue its policy despite the sanctions.
In May, concern about sanctions decreased slightly compared to March: sanctions do not bother 29% of respondents at all (in March — 23%); not too much — 32% (in March — 30%); 21% are quite concerned (in March — 27%); 17% are very concerned (in March — 19%). Nevertheless, concern about sanctions is still higher than in December last year.
Residents of Moscow and residents of cities with a population of more than 500 thousand are most concerned about sanctions: about 45% of them are concerned about sanctions. Also, relatively high concern is typical for residents of cities up to 100 thousand people. Sanctions worry 41% of respondents who “barely can afford food.” 16% of those who have enough for clothes are very worried about sanctions, 23% are quite worried; among respondents who can afford durable goods,15% are very worried, 19% are quite worried. There are no noticeable differences in the age groups.
Among the various restrictions, respondents are most concerned about the freezing of Russian gold and foreign exchange reserves and state property abroad (49%), the cancellation of Russian cultural events and the dismissal of some Russian artists from foreign theaters (28%), as well as the departure of a number of Western companies from the Russian Federation and restrictions on the supply of foreign goods to Russia (27%).
When considering age groups, the top 3 concerns for respondents aged 18-24 are the withdrawal of Visa and Mastercard payment systems from the Russian Federation and the inability to pay in online stores and abroad (56%), the departure of a number of foreign companies from Russia (43%) and restrictions imposed on Russian state property abroad (35%).
Other groups are characterized by the greatest concern about the foreign state property of the Russian Federation. 35% of respondents aged 25-39, 53% of respondents aged 40-54 and 60% of respondents aged 55 and older are concerned about the freezing of reserves and property in other countries.
Compared to March, the share of respondents who noted that sanctions created problems for them and their families has significantly decreased: very serious — for 5% (in March — 7%), quite serious — for 11% (in March — 22%), did not create serious problems — for 33% (in March – 39%), did not create any problems — for half (in March — 30%). Thus, the share of respondents for whom sanctions created problems decreased by 13% to 16%; the share of those for whom sanctions did not create problems rose to 83%. The ratio reached the level of April 2018.
Respondents for whom sanctions have created any problems, note first of all the following difficulties: price increases (39%), “disappearance of some goods, departure of brands, reduction of assortment” (19%), “blocking of cards, impossibility of money transfers” (8%).
Speaking about the motives of Western countries, the majority of respondents (74%) believe that the West seeks to weaken Russia by imposing sanctions. Only 8% of respondents believe that Western sanctions are designed to “stop the destruction and loss of life”, Compared to 2015, this opinion has slightly strengthened. (We thought it possible to repeat this question in the wording of 2014, when it was first asked.)
Respondents’ assessment of Russia’s actions in response to sanctions remains almost unchanged: 75% believe that Russia should continue its policy despite the sanctions, 19% – that it should seek a compromise.
The ANO Levada Center is included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.