Russians begin to Reject Abkhazia, Ossetia

Paul Goble reports:

Two years after Moscow recognized Abkhazia and South Ossetia, a step the Russian people overwhelmingly backed as a signal that their country could stand up to Georgia and the West, the failure of many other countries to recognize these republics and the high cost of supporting the two new states have combined to reduce public backing for them.

In an article posted online, Mikhail Smilyan says that polls show “ever fewer [Russians] remain support recognition of South Ossetia” and that they are less prepared to continue to provide assistance to that republic.

Drawing on poll results collected by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM), Smilyan notes that fewer Russians are paying attention to the political aspects of Moscow’s decision and more to the actual costs of supporting these republics.

As a result of that shift, he continues, “the number of Russian citizens who believe that Russia behaved correctly by supporting South Ossetia in its conflict with Georgia has significantly declined. In 2009, one year after the conflict, 59 percent of Russians had that view; now, only 38 percent do, a decline of more than 20 percent.

Over the same period, support among Russians for Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has fallen from 59 percent in 2008 to 34 percent today. Moreover, “almost a quarter of the respondents (21 percent) are certain that under certain conditions,” Moscow could end its recognition of the two, almost double the number who believed that a year ago.

And because those conducting the VTsIOM survey asked respondents to specify how committed they were to any particular position – “unqualifiedly yes,” “more yes than no,” etc. – Smilyan argues that that support for recognition has softened “despite the fact that the majority all the same [continues to] approve the recognition of the independence of the two.”

At the same time, Smilyan continues, support for providing assistance to the two states is falling and is now slightly less than half of the percentage backing aid a year ago, 15 percent against 31 percent, quite possibly the result of reports about the large amounts of money Moscow has been offering.

In addition, however, fewer are prepared to support militarily the two than a year ago, possibly an indication of a shift in Russian public opinion but almost certainly the result of declining attention to this issue and the political symbolism of what the Russian Federation did in the Georgian war.

Smilyan puts the most negative reading on the VTsIOM findings, perhaps because he like many of his readers believes that if a polling agency reputed to have close ties to the Kremlin is reporting this, the real shift in public opinion against Moscow’s policies in the North Caucasus may be even greater and hence more significant.

Not surprisingly, VTsIOM itself put the best face on its findings, headlining its story with the assertion that “76 percent of Russians are certain that the decision to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was correct” but acknowledging that 21 percent suggesting that the decision could be reversed.

Its three other “main” findings, VTsIOM said, were first, that only half of Russians are convinced that the decision about Russian recognition is irreversible, second, that only seven percent of Russians say they pay “regular” attention to developments in these states, and third, that most Russians believe Moscow should extend humanitarian aid rather than anything else.

Shifts in public opinion when people stop thinking about the political meaning of an action and begin focusing on the financial cost are typical. Indeed, they are so common that political leaders opposed to a particular individual or policy try as hard as possible to talk about the price tag of a policy if they want to defeat it.

An example of this that surfaced today is a Belarusian television report that the cost of Vladimir Putin’s automobile expedition equals the annual budget of “a small Russian city,” Minsk’s response to Moscow’s attacks on Alyaksandr Lukashenka.

35 responses to “Russians begin to Reject Abkhazia, Ossetia

  1. Suddenly, a realization that their “independence” really meant the official dependence.

  2. Ventures like this are supposed to be proftable not costly.

  3. Abkhazia is not Georgia. This is what i know.

  4. Just a little something (quotes) from the original VTSIOM report:

    1) “Three quaters of respondents support the government’s decision to support South Ossetia in 2008 in the armed clash with Georgia (76%)”.

    2) “Same (76%) is the persent of those who support the decision to recognize the two new states, made by Dmitry Medvedev after the conflict with Georgia”.

    3) “32% think the humanitarian financial aid is “a main thing that Russia can help South Ossetia with now”; “help in gaining recognition” is seen as the most appropriate way by 21%; with the “help in rebuilding housing and infrastructure” seen as the main way of supporting South Ossetia by 19% […]” etc.

    4) Question: “What do you think, was Russia right to support the South Ossetia in Georgian-Ossetian conflict?” Answers “absolutely right” – 38%, “rather, right” – 38%, “rather, wrong” – 6%, “absolutely wrong” -2%.

    And, just to compare.

    There are multiple interesting polls there, so wonderful source just to know the US public opinion better. It’s not that bad, as we could have imagine, reading the blog:)

    • And taking into account the report quoted above, the phrase from the LR’s post “support among Russians for Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has fallen from 59 percent in 2008 to 34 percent today” is, of course, a plain lie.

  5. Dima wrote;

    And taking into account the report quoted above, the phrase from the LR’s post “support among Russians for Moscow’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia has fallen from 59 percent in 2008 to 34 percent today” is, of course, a plain lie.

    Perhaps dorogiy dimasha, by concocting another lie, as all polls in Russia, Russia is reparing for withdrawal from South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Great joke from Warsaw, Poland – the island of Nauru – a great power – got mixed up and recognized the independence of Tatarstan [de facto an indendent state] instead of S. Ossetia and Abkhazia – ouch….

    • Here’s a great joke to Warsaw, Poland from Paris, France:

      – C’est comment vous ouvriez le parachute polonais?
      – Pas besoin, il se ouvre automatiquement, quand on se cogner a terre.

      – Do you know how to open a Polish parachute?
      – No need to, it opens up automatically after hitting the ground.

      I don’t really know what withdrawals is Russia in your head repairing. What I know is:

      This post of LR team contains a plain lie, and even you don’t have any objections to this. Which, I dare to say, is a strong argument in my support:D

      Have a good life.

      • dimasha, dorogoy, potshemy v rosijji wso obosranye???

        • Солнышко, ну ты же смотришь из унитаза? и какашки стоят перед глазами. Ты выберись из какашек, и сам поймешь, что мир гораздо симпатичнее и пахнет гораздо лучше, чем тебе сейчас кажется.

          И не расстраивайся ты так, все будет хорошо:D

          • bednashka, wy daze ne ponimyete shto rosija toniot b sobstvennykh exkrementakh. Dla mena eto prosto prelest somtret na eto,
            Eto vindication dla vsiekh zamutshennykh, ubitykh natsiij krome ruskikh – ruskiey umirali za ruskhuju imperiu – mejdu protsim; dla zapada ruskaya imperia eto ‘parbaric idiocy’ wy ponyali eto tovarishch dimasha…

            • Знатный ты экземпляр. Ни по-русски, ни по-английски грамотно писать не можешь, а сидишь на этом сайте “за идею” – лишь бы было о чем русских ругать =)

              Мы тонем в экскрементах? Ну, как говорится кто первый почуял – тот и виноват. Видно знаешь ты толк в экскрементах, раз так резво подметил =)

              • I saw the public toilets at Kurkiy Vagzal – what a horror but it doesn’t bother the russians…….

                • Aaausa, we have all mentioned how exciting the theme of excrements seems to you.

                  “Obosranye”, “exkrementakh”, “public toilets” etc…

                  Wonder why.

                  I never used public toilets in either of European train stations. That’s all I have to say on this theme.

  6. The old USSR had a hundred million slaves to exploit. Finally the slaves broke free with the help of the west. Now there is no one to support dumb foriegn ventures. Russia cannot afford the drain.

  7. Hey USA, your policy suck. You support Russian regime, you hope it will keep weapons of mass destruction secure. Look at this, do you think all nuclear weapons are secure there? ENJOY THE SHOW!

    The blogger, walking in the woods, came across the unguarded base defense:

    P.S. Dmitriy, who posts here, surname is probably “medvedev”, right?

  8. USA did not support the Putin regime. Only Obama did.

    Give Obama a break as he is busy destroying the Democrats. I think also that Obama is doing great damage to Islam. When you operate at the level of “See Jane run” there is no limit to your ability to achieve negative results.

    USA is negotiating issues with China and there is some tension. There are no negotiations with Russia because Russia is sinking, not coming up.

    It is difficult to detect who is running USA foreign policy. It is certainly not Obama.

    • I once heard a phrase, “What Coca-Cola wins, army loses”.

      I guess that was the best analysis I heard of the US history of the XX century.

      • Well lets see Dtard, compare the standard of living, standards of manufacture, standards of just about anything between the USA and Russia, and look who loses.

        Russia is history’s greatest failure.

        • Do I hear a voice from Georgia, a country with HDI less than Iran’s and a GDP per capita less than USD 5000? A country which PPP GDP/ capita this year has finally fallen 50% from that of 1985, the time of the glorious Georgian Soviet Socialist Republic?

          But you don’t even understand all these words like HDI and PPP GDP per capita…


          As to the US, there’s more you don’t know:

          Another approximation is from a study done by the National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty which states that approximately 3.5 million people, 1.35 million of them children, are likely to experience homelessness in a given year (National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty, 2007).

          Like, 3,5 million are homeless? 1,35 million of them children?


          A wealthy nation is one where the Gini coefficient is low. But you don’t even know what this index means, right?

          • LOL Dtard, I am not Georgian.

            However, many people “housed” in Russia way as well be homeless


            In addition Dtard, there are over 1,000,000 homeless children in Russia, a far higher proportion of the population than in the US

            80 percent of the one million homeless children living in
            Russia have parents or guardians (Matviyenko, 2002, 176). Parental neglect, because of the physical and psychological incapacities of the parents and/or guardians or the burdens associated with current unemployment trends that require
            single mothers to work several jobs simultaneously in order to support their children, lay at the core of today’s homeless epidemic

            Click to access stoeck03.pdf

            And that is the low estimate.

            Here is the UNESCO estimate:

            One outcome of the economic upheavals of the post-Soviet period is a great increase in the number of homeless children. The Russian government and UNESCO estimate that in 2001, there were up to three million homeless children in Russia (Harrigan 2001; Tretyak 2001). Some are children of parents who have died or been imprisoned, some are abandoned, and some have run away from conflict-, abuse-, and alcohol-ridden homes. To survive, many become involved in begging, petty crime, and prostitution. Drug use and suicide are also serious problems. Russian children’s charities and organizations such as the U.S.-based Love’s Bridge and the Red Cross are working to provide shelters and other services to homeless children, but the need still far outweighs available help.


            And homelessness in Russia is a major problem even in the “Big Two”



            As for comparisons with the US:

            In the US, on any given night in 2009, there were about 650,000 people homeless, and about 1.5m were homeless at some point in the year. That was up 13% since 2008, due to the recession. Most of that was temporary homelessness. Just 110,000 people were chronically homeless in 2009. That number actually fell 11% year on year, and has been falling since 2005. The majority of the homeless are single men and/or African-American. One fourth of homeless have been homeless for at least five years.

            In Russia, an estimated 4 million on a total population of 140 million are homeless, which is almost 3 % . Given the local climate it is no surprise that hundreds of people die in the streets during winter.


            Once again you fail like the epic loser that you are Dtard.

            • Why won’t you stop feeding a troll?

              • “St. Petersburg, for example, has numerous registration points where that city’s some 54,000 homeless can receive a special document entitling them to basic rights.”

                In 2002. Article by the RFE/RL, i.e. Bush addministration, beloved by all the Georgian patriots:D

                And you tell me this makes 4 million for the 30 times larger population of the country?

                Taking into account homeless tend to go to big cities?

                You may need to visit a doctor.

            • lol:) You’re an idiot, no matter Georgian or not:D

              “In the middle of the 1990s about four million Russians were estimated not to have propiska.(1)”

              Note: the first part, about middle 90ies, and the 2nd part, about propiska.

              It’s hard to call these people “homeless”. Propiska is not your “home”, and never was. People who need not to travel, may have or may not have a propiska, e.g. some granny from Dagestani village need no propiska – she would be well and happy without it. So selling her one house and moving to her children’s, she would not become a homeless person.

              Here’s a link for those “homeless” without propiska who want to travel abroad. Just like normal homeless persons do, right?


              You have propiska or don’t, this is of no importance to any rights and duties you have as a citizen:

              So, seriously, go find a real, and an up-to-date data.

              • Andrew, just to make you see the difference:

                “This paper concerns St. Petersburg, where in 1994 the organisations Médecine Sans Frontiers and Nochlezhka estimated the number of people lacking propiska to between 50 000 and 150 000. Out of these about 8000 or 9000 are thought to be literally ‘roofless’.

                Think, before you post. Or just think sometimes, at least.

                • Once again you retard, from Russian government estimates (are you calling your beloved pedophile PM Putin a liar??)

                  One outcome of the economic upheavals of the post-Soviet period is a great increase in the number of homeless children. The Russian government and UNESCO estimate that in 2001, there were up to three million homeless children in Russia (Harrigan 2001; Tretyak 2001). Some are children of parents who have died or been imprisoned, some are abandoned, and some have run away from conflict-, abuse-, and alcohol-ridden homes. To survive, many become involved in begging, petty crime, and prostitution. Drug use and suicide are also serious problems. Russian children’s charities and organizations such as the U.S.-based Love’s Bridge and the Red Cross are working to provide shelters and other services to homeless children, but the need still far outweighs available help.


                  Try again moron.

                  Interesting how you do not provide links to most of the drivel you spout, a bit like that epic failure Voice of Retardation.

                  • Hey, my Georgian friendie Andrew, you don’t even see the difference between the “Russian government’s estimates”, and “the author of the book that does not even know Russian has read some fancy government official article in translation”?

                    It’s you who should try again, and this is going to be a third try for you.

                    As to this, second try of yours, you are owned again.

                    This number (3 million) relates to “беспризорные” children, which means these kids have no adults to take care of them. They live in children houses, and this does not mean they are homeless. And, they have the propiska wich attracts you so much.


                    As to the real number, it varies from 200 000 to 740 000. Compared to the US, where the estimates are 3,5M homeless, 40% of them children, this makes a little difference. Which makes me wonder what happened to the US if they have about 1,5M homeless children.

                    But you are free to look further on RFE/RL, sunshine.

                    BTW, here are the links to the “original sources” that claim the Russian government says every 10th child in Russia is homeless. Like the population of whole St.Petes? Like more people than the whole Georgia?

                    Here the links you provide in the quoted source:



                    Oops, both are 404. CNN “Studentnews”??? “A letter” to the UNDP??? Both non-existent?

                    I bet when Saakashvili made the decision to attack the South Ossetia, he was reading sources of the same level of credibility:D

                    • Now retarded Dima, unfortunately you are a complete idiot.

                      Even the MVD gives a very high figure for homeless children.

                      Estimates of the number of homeless children ranged from 2 million to 5 million. According to the MVD, approximately 109 thousand vagrant minors were removed from the streets and public places in the first quarter of 2004 alone.

                      According to the Moscow Department of Social Security, 12 percent of street children who ended up in shelters have run away from orphanages or boarding schools. Law enforcement officials reportedly often abused street children, pinned the blame for otherwise unsolved crimes on them, and committed acts including extortion, illegal detention, and psychological and sexual violence against them. According to the Public Verdict Foundation, prosecutors refused to bring charges in 80 percent of cases of alleged police misconduct towards such minors. Homeless children often engaged in criminal activities, received no education, and were vulnerable to drug and alcohol abuse. Some young girls on the streets turned to, or were forced into, prostitution to survive.

                      Local and international NGOs provided a variety of services for the homeless. Many Moscow charitable organizations established productive relations with the city government to address the needs of children with disabilities, as well as other vulnerable groups. In St. Petersburg, local government and police ran various programs for homeless children and cooperated with local NGOs; however, resources were few and overall coordination remained poor. In St. Petersburg, NGOs ran seven drop-in centers.


                      And from the Russian ministry of the interior

                      An estimated 5 million people are homeless in Russia
                      An estimated 1 million children are homeless in Russia
                      Approximately 3.4%of the population is homeless
                      Source: Russian Interior Ministry, 2008


                      But wait there is more:

                      Two Days of Revelation
                      Yuri Mamchur
                      The Russian government has announced more startling statistics for World No Tobacco Day and Children Day.

                      Russia’s Ministry of Education and Science announced their latest statistics on youth in Russia. Today in Russia there are:

                      – 2 million homeless children
                      – 800 thousands orphans and children left without parental care
                      – 2 million illiterate teenagers who can’t write and read
                      – 6 million children who live in socially negative conditions

                      “A political decision on a serious review of the state policy regarding children is needed now” – Russian human rights Commissioner Vladimir Lukin said Wednesday. He noted that children’s rights are not fully secured in Russia. “Too many children need various aid of the state and society all over Russia.”

                      According to Lukin, today:

                      – Only one third of Russian children (32%) are healthy
                      – 52% have functional physical problems
                      – More than 16% of children have chronic diseases

                      Russia’s Ministry of Interior has announced their latest statistics on drug usage and criminal activity among Russian teenagers:
                      – 4 million Russian teenagers use or have tried heavy drugs
                      – 1 million teenagers are drug addicts
                      – The number of teenage deaths related to drug usage has increased 42 (forty two) times in recent years.

                      More than 1 million teenagers were registered with the Russian police for various criminal violations this year. There are more than 200,000 crimes committed by teenagers in Russia each year There are 150 youth street gangs registered as criminal organizations by police in Russia.

                      Russian State officials and World Health Organization have announced that:

                      Smoking leads to 300,000 premature deaths each year in Russia

                      -30% of Russian smokers try their first cigarette before they turn 12…80% before reaching the age of 17
                      -30% of all premature deaths in Russia annually are alcohol-related

                      Today, Russia is leading the European alcohol and smoking deaths list. In the past decade the number of deaths caused by alcoholism has tripled in Russia.

                      The average male life expectancy in Russia has dropped to 58 years.

                      There are 68 million males and 77 million females in Russia, as of 2004.

                      Russia’s population declined by 1.7 million during the past year.

                      Contributed by Anton Verstakov (Russian Journalist)


                      So Dtard, you, as usual, are lying through your teeth.

                    • Andrew, not surprisingly, you get owned for the third time.

                      Every source you cite above is just as crappy as the ones you cited before.

                      I am not going to discuss any sites ending with “.gov”, just like I would not discuss a Pravda article on the US from the 1975:)

                      I wouldn’t also discuss the football fans from the homelessworldcup, as they definitely don’t even have a qualification to quote the source of their numbers properly.

                      As to the Yuri Manchur in “Russia Blog”, he quotes (what he think is) a Russian ministry of Social development’s opinion about “2 million homeless children”. There are several questions, of course:

                      1) There were 4 million in your post above, just 2 days ago. Where are another 2 millions, baby?
                      2) What exactly is the cite he quotes, that is supposed to be a Russian ministry? Why does the link gets you to some weird online catalogue?

                      In real life, the government says,

                      There are 740 thousands children (up to 18 y.o.) that do not have any close relative to take care of them. 220 thousands of these children live in orphanages.

                      Pay attention this woman takes care about children, and the budget of her comission directly correlates with the number of children in “dire circumstances”. She’s not into calling “better looking” numbers.

                      So, I am more than willing to hear your explanations, how can a number of children left without care be 5 times lower than the number of “homeless children” you quote.

                      And, let’s agree on two simple rules for you for the next time you try to find real numbers:

                      1) You come with one number of supposedly homeless children in Russia, choose whatever you like, 5, 3, 2, 6 millions, – but just one, not five greatly different numbers in three different “sources” you quote.

                      2) You come with a working link to a official statement about “homeless” children, not “children living in orphanages”/ “orphans”/ “people without propiska”/ “our estimates of their words”/ “approximate number that we in the US State Dept like”.

                      And please feel free to explain how the US still has 1,5 million of them actually homeless people.

  9. Lukashenka and Putin are so fun to watch. Each telling the truth about each other. Send out for popcorn.

  10. Ron ,
    ” finaly the slaves broke free with the help of the West ” …. , pleeeeaaaze ,
    don’t HELP us , just don’t help the russians .

  11. Average Russians’ support for Russian troops in S. Ossetia is only 3 times higher than average Americans’ support for US troops in Afghanistan and only 4 times higher than average Americans’ support for US troops in drug-smuggling Kosovo . Hooray!

  12. There is a very simple solution for Russia’s homeless – let’s reopen good old gulag system – the only infrastructure that works in Russia – Russians will march in, as always, without any resistance….I am sure they will be happy there….

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