Russians are among the least-satisfied people in the world when it comes to their attitudes toward the government's provision of basic social services, according to a new study by the Program on International Policy Attitudes of the University of Maryland.
The survey questioned citizens of 21 countries around the world and found Argentines, Russians, and Ukrainians to be the least satisfied with their governments' performance on issues such as provision of foodstuffs, education, and health care. In Russia, 68 percent say they are "completely dissatisfied" or "not entirely satisfied" with the situation regarding food. Sixty-one percent held those views on access to education, and 83 percent are unhappy with the provision of health care. Satisfaction rates were higher in places like Nigeria, Egypt, and the Palestinian territories.
The findings shed a different light on attitudes in Russia from that found in the official media, where the popularity of the country's leaders is taken for granted.
In Russia, the questioning was carried out in late July. Now that the global financial crisis is being felt ever more in the country, such dissatisfaction may well be on the rise, despite President Dmitry Medvedev's repeated assurances during his November 5 address to the Federal Assembly that the government will continue to meet all of its social obligations.
-- Robert Coalson