History, traditions
Author`s name Ольга Савка

Public displays of affection become less shameful in Russia

Seven percent of Russian women admire watching other people kissing each other in public places

The view of young couples kissing each other in the metro and in other public stations has been evoking more positive feelings and less indignation or irritation with Russian people lately. These results can be seen from one of the latest polls conducted by Yuri Levada's public opinion center.

Russian people have become more tolerant, comfortable and indifferent to public displays of affection, spokespeople for the Levada center said. It is worth mentioning that individuals of various age groups still have different reactions to the phenomenon.

Young people experience most positive emotions when they see someone kissing or hugging each other in public – 30 percent of young people said that they are happy for someone else's happiness. People of 40-54 years of age are rather indifferent to love in public: 45 percent of them said that they do not think or feel anything when they see a man and a woman kissing in the metro, for instance. Public displays of affection seem rather irritating for elderly people above 55 years of age – 20 percent. Twenty-two percent said that public hugs and kisses arouse indignation with them, whereas 19 percent said that they were ashamed to look at couples in love.

According to the results of the poll, men show self-restraint, when they come across affectionate couples: 45 percent of men said that they simply did not pay any attention to it. Seventeen percent of men feel happy for others; other people's desire to love each other irritates 13 percent of men. Women have an absolutely different attitude to the phenomenon: one-third of women feel indifferent, 20 percent rejoice, 18 percent get angry and seven percent of women admire watching other people kissing and caressing each other in public places.

Only 13 percent of Russians were happy to eyewitness public displays of affection in 1998. The current number has increased to 20 percent now. Irritation and indignation gripped 19 and 16 percent of people in 1998 in comparison with 16 and 13 percent in 2005. Thirteen percent of Russians used to be ashamed of what they could occasionally see in the streets  - a similar feeling can be found with only six percent of respondents nowadays.

The polls of 1998 and 2005 were conducted in 46 regions of Russia, with over 1,600 respondents.

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