Almost one-third of Russians support police raids and criminal cases against prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s allies, according to a survey from the independent Levada Center pollster published Tuesday.
Police have carried out mass nationwide raids against Navalny’s associates and frozen a number of bank accounts in recent months as part of a criminal investigation into money laundering. Authorities also blacklisted Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, which has published a series of embarrassing video investigations alleging graft within Russia’s elite, as a “foreign agent” last month.
Some 18% of Levada’s respondents said the authorities are trying to protect Russia from foreign “agents of influence” while 12% said the state is combating money laundering, according to the poll published by the Vedomosti newspaper.
Another 18% of the respondents said the authorities carry out raids and launch criminal charges to suppress independent anti-corruption investigations. Overall, almost half of the respondents said they have heard about the raids and the money-laundering case.
Observers have attributed police raids and money-laundering charges to punishment for anti-government protests that gripped Moscow over the summer, and a local vote where pro-Putin candidates lost several seats.
One-quarter of Russian respondents said they view Navalny’s activities negatively, while 9% viewed them positively, according to Levada’s results. Another 31% said they were either indifferent or unaware of Navalny’s activities.
Levada conducted the survey among 1,616 respondents in 50 Russian regions from Oct. 24-30.