There is no unambiguous attitude in society to the law on “foreign agents”. At the same time, a year ago, most of the respondents believed that this law was a way of state pressure on independent public organizations. Today, against the background of the consolidation of public opinion around the government and the deepening of the conflict with the West, the opinion is beginning to prevail that the law is designed to “limit the negative influence of the West on our country.” Half of the respondents say that the status of a foreign agent in the media, NGOs or politics does not affect the attitude towards them.
Since the summer of 2021, the proportion of respondents who are aware of the law on “foreign agents” has increased. If 42% of respondents were aware of it in July 2021, then at the end of last year more than half (53%) had heard about it. The youngest respondents (56%) and residents of Moscow (69%) are the most knowledgeable about this law.
Although there has not been an unambiguous attitude to the law in society, most of the respondents (45%) believe that the meaning of the law on “foreign agents” is to limit the negative influence of the West on the country (a year ago there were 36% of such people). However, against the background of the consolidation of public opinion around the government and the deepening of the conflict with the West, this share has increased. About a third of respondents (30%) today hold the opinion that this law is a way of putting pressure on independent public organizations by the authorities. About a quarter found it difficult to answer the question. The law is considered a way to protect against the negative influence of the West primarily by supporters of the government, representatives of older generations who receive news mainly on TV. The opposite point of view is more common among young people, oppositional citizens who receive news through social networks. Muscovites and the audience of Telegram channels seem to be the most informed and extremely polarized.
Half of the respondents say that their attitude towards NGOs, politics or the media will not change if it becomes known about their inclusion in the register of foreign agents. A third say their attitude will worsen. In July 2021, 58% of respondents held a neutral point of view, and 26% held a negative one.
Respondents 55 years and older (42%), those who use TV as the main source of information (43%), and supporters of the president (38%) most often talk about changing their attitude in a negative direction. In other socio-demographic groups, a neutral attitude to the status of a foreign agent prevails.
The ANO Levada Center is included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.