Political scientist Abbas Gallyamov drew attention in his blog to the radically changing position of Russian citizens both to Western countries and to their own authorities:
“The results of the consideration of the Kremlin constitutional amendments by the Venice Commission can have a serious impact on the citizens' desire to vote for these amendments. For the regime, the opinion of the Council of Europe is, of course, not a decree and there is no doubt that it will bring down another wave of negativity on the Europeans now. The question is how the inhabitants of the country will react to this.
The aggressive foreign policy in the eyes of the Russians thoroughly discredited itself. Citizens are increasingly reacting to criticism of Europe and America in accordance with the logic of the heroine Akhejakova from the Office Romance, which, in response to Director Kalugina’s phrase that the boots are "too defiant," decides: "So they’ll be good, you have to take them".
The dominant logic in the country now is "the enemy of my enemy is my friend". The regime is increasingly perceived by people precisely as an enemy. In their interview yesterday, Dmitriev and Nikolskaya (the sociologists of the Belanovsky group, who had just published the results of their latest research that were extremely unpleasant for the Russian government - approx.ed) just spoke about the sharp increase in aggression recorded in their studies against the authorities.
In these conditions, all those with whom the regime is opposed automatically begin to be perceived by people as friends. Last summer, the Levada Center showed how this happens. First, he recorded the attitude of Russians towards the European Union in May, then he did this in September. During the first survey, 37 percent of respondents expressed their positive attitude towards the EU, and 50 during the second. The number of those who perceive Europe negatively fell in three months from 44 percent to 34. That is, last summer, the balance in relation to Europeans changed from negative to positive. I have not seen data for this year, but there is no doubt that the trend continued. Sociologists recorded a similar improvement in attitude both in relation to America and in relation to Ukraine, so this is not a one-time fluctuation, but rather a long-term tendency.
In general, the opinion of the Council of Europe can have the most serious impact on the mood of Russians. The technological component will play a large role here. It would be best if the Venice Commission did not get hung up on criticism of the amendment that “the family is the marriage of a man and a woman” and other insignificant nonsense, which the Kremlin, in fact, introduced to mask the “real thing”. The ideal conclusion would be that all these amendments are insignificant things and, therefore, the authorities have no reason to argue that their introduction could serve as a reason for Putin's zeroing.
If the EU begins to protest now against restrictions on the rights of minorities, it will only give the Russian regime an excuse to re-launch the issue of propaganda fog. Europeans, they say, again encroach on our traditional family values and try to undermine domestic moral principles. It is not necessary to give the Kremlin an opportunity to evade the essence of the issue. You have to hit the weakest point - the Tereshkova amendment. The popular vote planned by the authorities should turn into a referendum on the next Putin terms, and not on family values or whether God should be prescribed in the Constitution..."