MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti)
Fewer Russians Mourn Collapse of Soviet Union
The number of Russians nostalgic about the Soviet Union is decreasing every year, leading sociological research companies say. According to the Levada Center, 49 percent of respondents regret the collapse of the Soviet Union; VTsIOM said the figure is 56 percent. Experts say this is down to the falling number of people who actually lived in the Soviet Union.
A recent survey by the Levada Center shows that the number of people who regret the collapse of the Soviet Union has fallen by a quarter since 2000. At the same time, the number of those who do not regret it has risen from 19 percent in 2000 to 35 percent currently. The number of respondents who gave no answer has increased from 6 percent to 16 percent. It is indicative that the bulk of pro-Soviet Union respondents (52 percent) said they regretted its disintegration because they no longer feel part of a great power.
VTsIOM provides similar figures: 65 percent of respondents regretted the fall of the Soviet Union in 2002, but the current figure is only 56 percent, most of them people aged over 45 and citizens with a low level of education who do not use the Internet. Most of those who have no regrets are young people, people with higher education and active Internet users.
“The number of respondents who regret the collapse of the Soviet Union will fall commensurately with the decrease in the number of people who lived in that country,” Deputy Director of Levada Center Alexei Grazhdankin told Kommersant. State Duma Deputy Dmitry Novikov, secretary of the Communist Party Central Committee for Ideology, explains the trend by the decreasing number of those who lived in the Soviet Union. “People find it difficult to formulate opinions about a society in which they have never lived,” Novikov said. “But Russians will still have enough reasons for discontent and will inevitably turn to the Soviet experience.”
Political analyst Sergei Chernyakhovsky said the feeling of nostalgia about the past would grow stronger when that past is presented as a “paradise lost, which no one saw but which everyone has heard of.” “For example, quite a few people now have a positive view of Russia before the 1917 revolution. Same here: grandparents will greatly mourn the passing of the Soviet Union, their children will have only moderate regrets about it and their grandchildren even fewer. But their great-grandchildren will again become nostalgic about the Soviet Union,” Chernyakhovsky said. The Communist Party will not lose its electorate because of a decreasing interest in the Soviet Union. But in future political forces will appear which will “romanticize and idealize the Soviet Union and will try to give new energy to that image.”
Vladimir Putin said in his address to parliament in 2005 that the collapse of the Soviet Union was the largest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.
Duma, Get Lost!
Over 110,000 signatures demanding the disbandment of the 6th State Duma has been gathered as this issue of Novaya Gazeta goes to press.
There was once a widely used cliché – “meeting the wishes of the working people.” No one knew who these people were and how they expressed their wishes.
Nowadays the electoral system can help to take public opinion into account. But the mechanism has been spoilt by falsifications and ballot rigging. The position of the people has been distorted. It is only logical that the same people now want to remedy somebody else’s “mistake.”
Novaya Gazeta has collected over 100,000 signatures to demand the disbandment of the latest State Duma. Duma Deputy Speaker Sergei Neverov has said that the Duma is ready to consider any public initiative, including this one. Admittedly, given the fact that 60 million people cast their votes to elect it, Vladimir Pligin, Chairman of the State Duma’s Committee on Constitutional Legislation, added that the Duma cannot consider its own disbandment since this would violate the Constitution.
The 60 million electors who voted the State Duma into existence are set against the 100,000 citizens who are pressing for its disbandment.
Again we have a single people divided into a “majority” and a “minority.”
The view expressed by the “brave seven” who protested in Red Square on August 25, 1968 against sending Soviet troops into Czechoslovakia did not perhaps coincide with the stand of over 60 million. And the state ignored the opinion of the minority. But as it later transpired, truth was on the side of those seven and not on the side of those who “were meeting the wishes of the working people.”
The Duma is free to debate or not debate its self-disbandment. This time it is WE who are raising the issue of self-disbandment. We who are the people of the Russian Federation and the source of power in the country. Incidentally, in line with that same Constitution. It is these 100,000 signatories who are the people.
Our job is to make public the position of an active and responsible section of the people. Presidential executive order No. 601, dated May 7, states that any proposal by citizens which collects 100,000 online signatures must be examined. Now it is up to the authorities how this view should be taken into account. Please go ahead, there is such a method as a referendum for this.
And now ask the tens of millions whether they actually want this kind of State Duma in practice.
Investors Free of Crisis Fears
The VIX, Wall Street’s “fear index,” has dropped to a five-and-a-half-year low as investors become increasingly optimistic over the deferral of the “fiscal cliff.” However, this fragile stability might not last.
The VIX index measures investor expectations of market volatility as revealed in the pricing of options that protect against sharp fluctuations on the S&P 500. Since investors usually seek protection against sharp falls in shares, the VIX is referred to as the “fear index.”
The VIX tumbled 40 percent last week after growing for some time on fears of the “fiscal cliff” in the United States, to 13.2 points – the lowest level since June 2007. Other measures of implied volatility also point to investor confidence: Europe’s Vstoxx and the CVix, a currency market volatility index, are both near their lowest levels since mid-2007.
Analysts believe that the partial success of the debt ceiling debate in the US Congress is not the only factor keeping a lid on investor fear; the low VIX also reflects the success of central banks’ policies to stimulate their respective economies. The MSCI World index gained 13 percent in 2012; the US S&P 500 reached a five-year high of 1,467 last week, while Britain’s FTSE-100 crossed the 6100 mark on Wednesday for the first time in four and a half years.
We have been dealing with a financial crisis, a global recession and the highly uncertain future of the eurozone, which led to extremely high volatility in the last five years, said John Higgins, senior markets economist at Capital Economics in London. Yet the VIX stood at an even lower level shortly before the global financial crisis, he told RBC Daily.
Analysts do not believe that a low VIX always reflects future stock market growth. In the past nine cases when the VIX fell by over 30 percent in five days, the S&P 500 remained stable at best. The last financial crisis hit after the fear index fell to around 10 points, Higgins said, advising against making market forecasts based on the VIX.
UBS analysts have actually predicted a long-term decline of the markets starting from 2013. “We have evidence that the March 2009 cyclical bull market is moving into a mature stage and in this context we see the S&P 500 and risk assets moving into a major top in 2013 followed by a new cyclical bear into 2014,” UBS strategists Michael Riesner and Marc Mueller wrote in a technical strategy report. The S&P 500 may gain 7.4 percent by late summer this year, rising as high as 1,570, bringing the total increase since the start of the rally in March 2009 to 116 percent. However, a “cyclical” bear market will follow, with the gauge dropping as low as 1,100 by 2014, they added.
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