Posted by: russkieland | April 5, 2010

Loving Russia from a safe distance

An on-line public opinion research was recently carried out in Latvia, a Baltic country, which, along with Estonia, is constantly held under ideological and propaganda pressure by Russia.

Russian propaganda, amongst other things, with certain degree of success is trying to win the “hearts and minds” of the local Russian speaking minority (called “compatriots” by Russia) and to implant in their heads a specific, Russia-centric worldview, skeptical of the West and antagonistic to the worldview of the peoples of the Baltic states.

The question asked to Internet users in Latvia during the research was: “Where would you go, if you were forced to leave the country?”.

Separate opinion polls were held for Latvian speaking and Russian speaking Internet users, yet yielding rather similar results.

What is surprising, though, is that, despite the massive Russian propaganda efforts, the participants representing the Russian speaking minority (mostly Soviet era settlers from USSR and their children), chose Russia as their destination of choice in only 6% of the cases!

Preferred destinations if forced to leave Latvia. Bar color: red for Russian speakers, blue for Latvian speakers. Preference for Russia ("Krievija") as destination, respectively: 6% and 2%.

The results are especially interesting, if we consider that many of the same people who provided these answers are often overtly expressing Russian Chauvinist views and are actively prising Russia for its perceived greatness and superiority over the other countries.

It is not uncommon for young Russians living in Latvia or Estonia to be flaming “patriots” of both USSR and Russia, despite the fact that the first collapsed before they were born and the other is a foreign country which they haven’t even ever been to.

Still, obviously, when given a choice, only few of them would volunteer to actually go to the country which they claim to admire so much.

Thus it seems, that the Russian propaganda, while often being quite effective in inciting scorn and hatred amongst the Russian minorities in the Baltic countries against their countries of residence, has failed in actually promoting  the positive image of the Russia itself and convincing the target audience of advantages of the modern Russian way of life.

Sources:

  1. TVNET.lv (in Latvian)
  2. TVNET.lv (in Russian)
  3. Image by “Snapshots” via TVNET.lv
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