Staunton, July 27 – Often people in the West and in Russia as well assume that the Russian people march in lockstep with Vladimir Putin, but a new poll shows that Russians are quite capable of picking and choosing among the Kremlin leader’s messages -- something that may create increasingly serious problems for him.
According to a new Levada Center poll, the findings of which were released today, 44 percent of Russians say they hold the Ukrainians responsible for the downing of the Malaysian airline a year ago with 17 percent saying the United States is to blame, both positions consistent with the Kremlin’s (levada.ru/27-07-2015/rassledovanie-katastrofy-boinga).
At the same time, the poll found that only one Russian in 50 – two percent – thinks that Russia is to blame, something Vladimir Putin and his regime have stoutly denied from the beginning.
But the same poll found that 47 percent of Russians, just under half, support the idea of creating an international tribunal to determine who was responsible for the shooting down of the plane. Only 19 percent oppose that idea, and another third were not prepared to answer that question.
Those responses are very different than the Kremlin apparently would like: Eleven days ago, Vladimir Putin told the Dutch prime minister that the creation of such a tribunal would be “counter-productive” (gordonua.com/news/politics/Putin-zayavil-premeru-Niderlandov-o-kontrproduktivnosti-tribunala-po-MN17-89857.html),
That suggests that the Russian people are far more willing to have such a tribunal be formed – or more likely, far less worried than Putin and his entourage are about what such an institution would find and who it would determine was in fact responsible for the shooting down of a civilian airliner.