A Levada Center survey conducted in October on the use of torture and mistreatment in detention centers across the country suggests that Russians are highly tolerant of violence and cruelty.
The survey was prompted by a report from the Novaya Gazeta investigative newspaper featuring a video shot by an employee of Yaroslavl Correctional Facility No.1, which captured the torture of Yevgeny Makarov, a detainee.
Seven percent of the survey’s respondents had heard about the incident. Another 23 percent had heard something about it without knowing the details. Some 69 percent — more than two-thirds — learned about the abuse from the survey itself.
According to Levada Center Director Lev Gudkov, these figures are not surprising given that a majority of Russians get their news from state television channels, which make almost no mention of torture and abuses in detention centers.
A Public Opinion Foundation survey conducted in August reached a similar conclusion. Currently, 66 percent of respondents ” do not know anything” about conditions inside detention facilities, compared to 18 percent in 1997. The main source of this information was, and still, is, newspapers, television and radio broadcasts (59 percent in 1997 and 13 percent in 2018). In second place was personal experience and stories from relatives (4 percent and 17 percent respectively in 1997, and 4 percent and 12 percent now).
On the other hand, Gudkov said, interest in the subject is waning as violence becomes increasingly commonplace across society.