• Robert J. Brym


Imagine a country in which only 12 per cent of the adult population are satisfied with their lives, 71 per cent find it a financial strain even to clothe their families, 61 per cent report a deterioration in living standards over the past three months, 67 per cent report a decline in the political situation over the same period, and 41 per cent think that the country runs a high risk of complete anarchy. In the same country, only 13 per cent of adults trust the head of state—3 per cent fewer than distrust him—while 71 per cent express little or no trust in the parliament and 57 per cent express little or no trust in the government. Meanwhile, a mere 2 per cent of the adult population belong to a political party or movement and 53 per cent believe that mass disturbances, anti-government riots and bloodshed are likely to break out. That was the situation in Russia in March 1993 according to a countrywide public opinion poll of 2,000 people conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences.2 The poll and others like it show that in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus there is widespread despair, pessimism and political mistrust but no widely perceived economic and political alternative to the status quo. It also suggests potential danger. As Václav Havel recently put it:


Negative Attitude White Collar Conspiracy Theory Public Opinion Poll Popular Education 
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  1. 1.
    This section is a revised version of Robert J. Brym and Andrei Degtyarev, “Anti-semitism in Moscow: Results of an October 1992 survey”, Slavic Review, vol. 52, no. 1, 1993, 1–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
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    In general, however, the income of Jews is above average. For example, the average income in Moscow in February-March 1993 was 11,625 roubles per month, Sotsialno-ekonomicheskoe polozhenie rossiyskoy federatsii v yanvare-marte 1993 goda, Ekonomichesky obzor no. 4, Goskomstat Rossii (Moscow: Respublikansky informatsionno-izdatelsky tsentr, 1993), 145. All the Moscow Jews in my survey were interviewed in those two months. Their average monthly income was 27,218 roubles, more than two and a third times above the city average. This difference appears not to be the result of Jews being more involved in the private sector than non-Jews (Mordechai Altshuler), “Jews and Russians—1991”, Yehudei brit ha-moatsot (The Jews of the Soviet Union), vol. 15, 1992, 33).Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© The Institute of Jewish Affairs Limited 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert J. Brym
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Sociology and Centre for Russian and East European StudiesUniversity of TorontoCanada

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