Amendments to the law on referendums in Russia recently introduced by the State Duma, the parliament's lower chamber, has given rise to a discussion on the institution. Sociologists have decided to find out what ordinary Russians think on the matter and whether they consider referendums necessary.
It has turned out that a majority of Russians (56 percent), believe that referendums are necessary, one fifth of the respondents (20 percent) are of the opposite opinion.
The support for referendums is more often voiced by respondents aged 18-35 (63 percent) and those with higher education (68 percent).
Proponents of referendums were asked to give their reasons. The most frequent reason (25 percent) was that the authorities should know the people's opinion. 9 percent believe that "people should decide the fate of their country on their own", and the decision on crucial issues should not depend only on the authorities.
Some respondents (4 percent) say that a referendum is a norm of a democratic state, a way to control the authorities and to make them take well considered decisions.
3 percent of the pollees believe that referendums are necessary for people to take active part in the life of their country.
The reasoning of their opponents is as follows: referendums are useless, they do not bring any changes (5 percent), no one takes into account people's opinion anyway (5 percent), it is a costly event (5 percent), referendums do not show people's real opinion as they are rigged (1 percent).
Besides, 1 percent of the respondents say that people in Russia are not ready to participate in referendums because of their close-mindedness.
The data was gathered by the Public Opinion fund in an All-Russia poll of 1,500 city and village residents in 100 localities in 44 regions, territories and republics of all economic-geographic zones. The poll was conducted on June 12th in form of an interview at home. The statistical error does not exceed 3.6 percent.