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From Economic Crisis to Political Crisis?: Changing Middle Class Political Attitudes in Moscow and St. Petersburg, 2008-2012

de Vogel, Sasha

This paper examines why the middle class of Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia, suddenly began protesting in large numbers during the 2011-2012 electoral cycle by assessing longer-term changes in the political attitudes of the professional middle class. This study analyzes three interrelated hypotheses to address this question: the impact of the global financial crisis, attitudes about liberal-democratic concerns, and views on government effectiveness. These trends are examined using data of responses to the survey question “What is the most important problem for the country?”, in 9 surveys conducted between March 2008 and March 2012. Corruption and red tape, the standard of living, housing and utilities, healthcare and education were of increasing concern to middle class groups in this period. The concerns of the middle class were not significantly different from those of the general population, but the middle class and particularly residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg were more critical when assessing all problems. Comparison with additional data demonstrates that participants in the 2011-2012 protests in the major cities shared similar concerns with the general population, but for most, participation in the protests made them significantly more interested in democracy.

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More About This Work

Academic Units
Slavic Languages and Literatures
Degree
M.A., Columbia University
Published Here
September 12, 2013
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