20 Nov 2019 11:41

Russians come to appreciate free speech - poll

MOSCOW. Nov 20 (Interfax) - The freedom of speech, conscience, peaceful assembly, and association is being increasingly mentioned by Russians amongst important rights and freedoms, according to a statement of the Levada Analytical Center seen by Interfax.

"The importance of free speech demonstrated the biggest growth over the past two years, from 34% to 58%," the pollster said.

The indicator has grown both in Moscow (twice), big cities, and in provincial towns and villages (1.5-times).

The number of respondents declaring the importance of fair trial has grown from 50% to 64%, and 40% of the respondents declared the importance of the freedom of conscience (22% in the previous period).

The sociologists asked which human rights and freedoms the respondents deemed to be most important (they could choose several options). The right to life, freedom, and personal inviolability was mentioned by most respondents (78%). The indicator grew 6% since the previous poll held in 2017.

The right to healthcare (70%) and the right to free and equal education (59%) followed in the rating.

According to the pollster, Russians have started to ascribe significance to the entire body of fundamental human rights. "The significantly increased frequency of answers may evidence actualization of the agenda, in this case, the public rights one, in the public eye. Rights, which did not seem to matter before, are now being mentioned more often," Levada Center said.

The right to peaceful assembly is at the bottom of rating. However, the number of respondents who highlight this right has grown from 13% to 28% over the past two years. Thirty percent of the respondents say that the right to take part in the public and political life matters (their number used to stand at 16%).

Sixty-two percent of the respondents emphasized the right to social security and decent living standards, and 58% mentioned the right to work, good working conditions and fair pay.

Levada polled 1,616 persons aged 18 and older in 137 populated localities in 50 Russian constituent territories on October 24-30, 2019.