Date: Thursday, December 04 @ 17:23:04 MST
In late December 2006, a new law was passed in Russia concerning retail marketplaces. A total 59% of Russians have visited local marketplaces since the introduction of the new law, and a new poll has helped determine if there have been any changes since. However, the majority of respondents haven’t noticed any changes at all. The quality of commodities and service have remained the same, according to 46% and 45%, respectively, of those surveyed (78% and 76% of those who have visited marketplaces recently). The range of food products sold has also not changed, according to 38%. Another 34% also say that the number of vendors hasn't changed. All in all, 33% of those surveyed voiced the general impression that the new law hasn’t had any effect on opportunities for local vendors to sell their fruit, vegetables and other products at marketplaces.
Some respondents did notice changes, and their opinions are somewhat divided. Some 11% observed a broader range of foodstuffs, but another 7% say that the selection was smaller. There are fewer vendors now, according 11%, while 6% say there are more vendors. In the view of 9% of respondents, local farmers now have more opportunities to sell their products independently, but 4% think the opposite is the case. Moreover, 7% of those surveyed say that the quality of foodstuffs sold has improved, and 8% say that the salespersons have become more polite.
On the whole, 71% of those who have been to marketplaces in January (42% of all respondents) say things haven't changed over the last month. Meanwhile, 10% think that things have changed for the better, and 8% say that they have changed for the worse.
When asked what they see in terms of improvement, respondents mention a broader range of higher quality goods, an improved appearance and more domestic vendors.
Most respondents who said things have grown meant that prices have grown, the choice of goods has become smaller, there are too few vendors, and some said that the authorities are breaking the law.
A new amendment under which foreign nationals will be prohibited from selling foodstuffs at Russian marketplaces will come into force on April 1, 2007. This measure was welcomed by a 60% majority of Russians. On the other hand, 21% (31% in Moscow and 32% in other major cities) disapprove of this new law, and 19% are undecided.
When asked about potential results of the new law, respondents predicted both positive and negative consequences - higher prices were mentioned most often (17%).
In terms of potential positive results, ethnic Russian salespersons are expected to benefit (14%), as are Russian farmers (8%). Some respondents were more skeptical, with 3% of respondents pointing out that Russians will be unable or unwilling to work as marketplace vendors: "who is going to work there?"; "half of the markets will be closed". Another three percent of those surveyed are sure that foreign merchants will adapt to the new situation and remain behind-the-scenes masters of the Russian marketplaces.
According to 8% of those surveyed, some kinds of fruits and vegetables will disappear from the stands together with foreign vendors. Others say the produce will be "more domestic," "there will be more locally produced foodstuffs at marketplaces" and "only our own products will be sold" (3%).
Four percent of respondents expect better quality produce based on the belief that Russian-made commodities are always better than imports ("there won’t be any foreign goods, which are of dubious quality - only domestic ones. I trust Russian goods more because they are more natural").
The new legislation will enhance ‘law and order’ in marketplaces according to 5% of respondents; their sanitary condition will be improved (2%); the social climate will become more relaxed, the quality of service will grow, and there will be no more cheating or trickery (2% each).
Not everyone is so optimistic, however. Some respondents expect the elimination of competition to have negative consequences (1%), and some expect "tension" and "chaos" (1%).
Nation-wide home interviews conducted February 3-4 2007 in 100 residencies in 44 regions. A sample size of 1500 respondents. The margin of error does not exceed 3,6%.