The Russian government is at a dead end in goal-setting. In what circumstances the current generation of Russian people will live in the foreseeable future is absolutely unknown. It is only known that Vladimir Putin reserved the opportunity to rule the country until 2036. However, the increase in the terms of the autocrat's rule is difficult to recognize as the formation of a distinct image of the future, and even more so the goal of the country's development.
The so-called “national goals” promulgated by the authorities hardly inspire the broad masses, if they really know anything about these goals at all. The tasks themselves seem to be impracticable - for example, a significant increase in the population of Russia or a decrease in the poverty level by half. Insiders in the government argue that the position of the president boils down to the fact that the main thing is to have a goal. Its achievement is of no fundamental importance. Not to mention the fact that the implementation of the goals has been shifted beyond the horizon of 2024 - to 2030. These are the tasks, most likely, of another government and, perhaps, another president.
However, the problem of setting goals for the state and, most importantly, society is much broader than the formal indicators indicated in the presidential decree, to which, moreover, few people except officials pay attention. The building of communism or, conversely, the exit from communism were quite intelligible and clear to society "beacons". As, however, and the return of the "greatness of Russia", achieved through the incorporation of Crimea. But Russia is already great again, the goal has been achieved.
The question arises: what, in fact, next? The authorities have no answer, and they do not even raise this question before themselves, not seeing the need for it. First, after several experiences in writing strategic programs, of which only one was implemented to some extent (German Gref's 2000 program), the Russian leadership abandoned modernization projects. Second, the planning horizon of the current government is getting shorter over the years: key efforts are reduced almost exclusively to replenishing the federal budget revenue and redistributing expenditures. In this sense, the country has a budgetary policy, but no economic policy. Thirdly, the ideology of goal-setting is not being built: the last attempt of this kind boiled down to the abstract idea of "breakthroughs", which the mass audience did not accept.
And what about this issue in society? How do people of different political views see the desired future? To what extent do they coincide or differ in their ideas about the goals that are desirable to achieve, and how to move towards them? Can Russia develop under conditions of state capitalism in the economy and authoritarianism in politics? And can it, in principle, develop under Vladimir Putin? And if change is possible, how can it be implemented?
In search of answers to these questions, sociologists Denis Volkov and Alexey Levinson, as well as political analyst Andrei Kolesnikov, conducted several focus groups in Moscow and Yaroslavl and talked separately:
Three focus groups were held in both cities, one with proponents of each of the three policies described. Having divided the research participants into conditional “loyalists”, traditionalists ”and“ liberals ”in advance, they wanted to assess how different their views on the future desired for Russia are, how these differences are manifested, whether people have common attitudes regarding the goals and paths of the country's development with different political sympathies.
The experts were not interested in exact distributions and percentages, but in the most general ideas of people about problems, prospects, possible ways of developing a situation, as well as the language that people used to describe their own picture of the world.
The authors publish key findings of their research on the Carnegie Moscow Center website:
They are characterized by adherence to statism and paternalism in the most extreme and archaic manifestations.
5. A liberal project is:
You can, of course, evaluate such a "program" as declarative. But these statements belong not to liberal ideologists, but to the most ordinary citizens of Russia, who, moreover, every time substantiated their point of view.
6. The little that unites various groups, regardless of ideological predilections, is:
Respondents in all groups said that the authorities can and should be forced to work and listen to people.
7. The options for the transit of power in the opinion of the respondents are not too diverse. Basically, it all comes down to the next Operation Successor: citizens are offered a politician-heir, they vote for him.
More details of the study can be found here.
In conclusion, the authors summarize the research and outline its key points: