According to a new opinion survey researching national identity in Russia, just over half the Russian population would not “under any circumstances” want to see a gay person as a neighbour or as a work colleague.
The state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) attempted to examine which ideas and values united Russians, and which kept them apart.
Representing 45 regions across the country, 1,600 Russians took part in the poll.
One of the major divisions highlighted in the survey were attitudes towards gay people, in which just over half the population answered they would not want to live nearby or work with a gay person “under any circumstances.”
Valery Fedorov, head of the Russia Public Opinion Research Center pollster, told reporters on Tuesday: “The main dividing line (in Russian society) is between residents of large cities and central Russia as a whole, and the residents of Russia’s Northern Caucasus.”
He added this split reflects the existence of two different linguistic concepts for understanding Russian identity. While the Russian word “russky” implies an ethnic Russian identity, the word “rossiisky” suggests allegiance to the Russian state.
Additionally, when asked about religious faith, 77 percent of participants said they were Orthodox Christians, 6 percent said they were Muslims, and 6 percent were atheists.
VCIOM is the oldest marketing and opinion research company in post-soviet Russia.
Anna Grigoryeva said that the main effect of the legislation so far in Russia had been the sanctioning by the state of “public organised homophobia and transphobia.”
She added: “There are lots of far-right groups; lots of Orthodox Christian activists who will show up at LGBT events and harass people and attack people quite violently – and that’s been pretty much sanctioned by the state.”
“The police won’t arrest them for it.”
In an online statement, they said: “Do not boycott the Olympics – boycott homophobia! Stand in solidarity with people in Russia.”