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Big Business in Russia.

RussiaAlmost half of Russians (49%) think there currently are favorable conditions for the development of big business in Russia. Still, 19% are of the opposite opinion, with 32% having difficulty opining on this issue. It is worth noting that since 2000, when this question was first discussed, (since that time, it has been asked periodically) the share of those who hold the first opinion has gradually increased by a total of 18 percentage points, while the number of those believing Russia’s environment to be inhospitable to big business has decreased by 13%.

At the same time, the share of those who believe the creation of favorable conditions for the development of big business in Russia is necessary, is still quite large and stable; today, as it was in July of 2003, 53% of all those surveyed think so.

According to 30% of respondents, conditions the for development of big business in Russia have improved over the last two years, while 27% do not see any improvements, and 6% are convinced that conditions are even getting worse.

Respondents were more likely to evaluate the economic role of big business positively rather than negatively. 35% evaluate its influence positively, while 28% expressed the opposite opinion. Roughly the same ratio between respondents’ opinions was in evidence two years ago, in July 2004 (35% vs. 26%). Yet, in July 2003, the role of big business in our national economy was noticeably more likely to be seen as negative than positive (25% vs. 45%).

At the same time, the political role of big business in Russia is seen in a mostly negative light; 34% consider its influence upon Russia’s political life to be negative, while 21% believe it is positive. As for the effect of big business on the lives of ordinary people, today, respondents are more likely to evaluate it negatively rather than positively – 33% against 22%. It should be noted that comparing today's data with figures received in 2003 –when the ratio of respondents’ evaluations was 46% vs. 14% – today’s situation seems much better.

According to the majority of Russians (53%), the government supports the development of big business, while a third of respondents (15%) expressed the opposite view. It may be said that over the past two years, (since July of 2004) the government’s position on big business has become clearer to ordinary Russians. The share of those who had difficulty opining on this issue has decreased by 10%, while the number of those who believe the authorities support big business has increased by 9 percentage points, with the share of those expressing the opposite view holding steady.

Russians’ attitudes towards people in big business have been almost without change; 49% expressed their positive attitude (in 2004, the figure was 47%), while one-third feel negatively about them (30% each). Young people were most likely to show their positive feelings about representatives of big business (63% among respondents between 18 and 35), in tune with respondents with a higher education and residents of megapolises (61% each).

Three-quarters of respondents (72%) are convinced that “today, the majority of representatives of big business do not pay all the taxes they are legally required to pay”, while 14% of those surveyed are convinced that all taxes are paid. According to one-third of respondents (35%), the number of those taxpayers paying taxes in full has not changed over the last two years, while 15% think it has increased, and 11% consider their number to have decreased.

Those who are convinced that the number of honest taxpayers among those in big business has increased, argued that stricter laws and tax controls, as well as an improved fiscal system, help them pay taxes in full. Business is becoming more stable and solid, and businessmen are becoming more responsible. Some respondents say that businessmen fear the state’s cruel punishment, exemplified by the example of Mikhail Khodorkovsky ("they fear becoming income-tax evaders because not one of them wants to be in prison like Khodorkovsky").

Those considering the number of by-the-book taxpayers in big business to have decreased over the last two years based their opinion on the premise that all businessmen are greedy and have no desire to part with any part of their income. Moreover, respondents say that the tax system is weak, which is taken advantage of by businessmen who find different ways of evading taxes. Some respondents justify those in big business by citing the shortcomings of our imperfect tax system: "if they pay their taxes fully, they will have nothing in their pocket".

Source: The Public Opinion Foundation
13.04.2006, Population Poll

Nation-wide home interviews conducted April 8-9 2006 in 100 residencies in 44 regions. A sample size of 1500 respondents. Additional polls of the Moscow population, with a sample of 600 respondents. The margin of error does not exceed 3,6%.
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Posted on Monday, May 22 @ 13:47:57 MST
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