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    RUSSIA SOON FOR BETTER DAYS WITH NEW GOVERNMENT, HOPE 30% OF POLLEES

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 12 (RIA Novosti correspondent Nikolai Zherebtsov) - Things will turn to the better quite soon now that Russia has changed government, say 31% of pollees. It's either yes or now for more skeptical 37%, while 25% don't think the new Cabinet will cope.

    The figures come from an opinion poll of March 4-9. Made by the Yuri Levada Analytical Center, former All-Russia Public Opinion Study Center, or VTsIOM, it involved 1,600 respondents in a hundred settlements of forty regions. Sociologists evaluate the ceiling statistical error at 3.4%.

    Apart from the above-mentioned essential question, the respondents were offered a list of principal challenges the new Cabinet is facing. Each pollee was to point out three or four he considered top priority.

    To increase industrial output is the key priority, said 52% of respondents, as against 60% in a similar poll of March 2000.

    36% (28% four years ago) highlighted the social purport of current Russian reforms; back wages and pension payments, a respective 31% and 47%; revising privatization of major state enterprises, 31% and 25%; reducing private and corporate tax rates, 30% and 29%; and reviving state economic regulation, 29% and 31%.

    The Cabinet ought to focus attention on government support of basic economic branches, said 25%, against 22% of March 2000; private enterprise promotion and crediting beginner entrepreneurs, 18% against 13%; stepping up reforms and buttressing private capital, 13% and 10%; same for reducing the impact of natural monopolies and young financial-industrial groups on national life; improving tax collection, 11% and 16%; closing down companies who work at a loss, 11% and 11%; further privatization and promotion of private landholding, 6% and 7%.

    As the two polls show, the past four years did not considerably change Russian public ideas of government priorities. As before, a majority of respondents attach the greatest importance to rising industrial output, while alarm with wage arrears has subsided.

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