New polling shows that Moscow's opposition protesters are far more local than the government wants people to believe
A group of specialists organized a survey of the demonstrators who attended Moscow’s August 10 protest at Sakharov Prospekt and determined that 80 percent of the people live within the city limits, and another 17 percent live in the Moscow region. More than half (56 percent) of the permanent Moscow residents said they were born in the capital, the survey’s organizers told the newspaper Vedomosti.
The polling methodology: Five volunteer-interviewers stood 50 meters (164 feet) beyond the metal detectors erected by police at Prospekt Sakharov, and asked every seventh passerby to participate in a survey. They approached 399 people in total, and found 306 willing respondents. Interviews did not verify the information against their residency permits. The study’s statistical margin of error is 5.6 percent. Political scientist Alexey Zakharov and social anthropologist Alexandra Arkhipova organized the polling.
These data contradict earlier police reports that most of the people attending Moscow’s opposition protests are from outside the city. Pro-government media outlets have also repeated these claims, in an apparent effort to de-legitimize the demonstrations against election officials.
Since mid-July, the city has witnessed large protests in support of the independent City Duma candidates. On August 10, as many as 60,000 people attended a permitted rally at Sakharov Prospekt. According to independent observers, it was the largest protest in more than seven years.
Moscow municipal deputies Elena Filina, Ilya Azar, and Andrey Morev, who helped organize the August 10 rally, have applied for a permit to hold another demonstration on August 17.