Quarter of Russians allege violations of their rights in past 2 years - poll

Nearly half of Russians (47 percent) think their rights cannot be protected in the majority of cases, and 38 percent claim the opposite.

Nearly half of Russians (47 percent) think their rights cannot be protected in the majority of cases, and 38 percent claim the opposite.

Twenty-four percent said their rights had been breached in the past 24 months and only 7 percent managed to defend themselves, the Public Opinion Foundation said in comment on a poll of 1,500 respondents in 43 regions on July 27-28.

Thirty-eight percent failed to evaluate the performance of Russian courts and judges, 35 percent of the opinions were negative and 27 percent were positive. Negative opinions prevailed even more, 42 percent vs. 17 percent, in Moscow.

Some 57 percent of the respondents said their appeal to the court would be a measure of last resort only if they failed to protect their legal interests in a different way. Thirty percent disagreed. They said courts were the only ones to protect violations of rights and legal interests.

The sociologists also learned that the most valuable rights in the eyes of Russians were free medical services and labor rights (74 percent and 58 percent, respectively).

The other prioritized rights were fair trial (55 percent), free education (54 percent), personal freedom and inviolability (46 percent), social protection (43 percent), inviolability of property and home (36 percent) and the freedom of movement and choice of the place of residence (30 percent).

Russians also care about the freedom of speech (18 percent), the freedom of conscience (11 percent), the right to elect and be elected (5 percent), the freedom of assembly and demonstrations (5 percent) and the right to participate in public and state management (4 percent).

The respondents were offered to choose no more than five possible answers.

Seventy-two percent admitted that neither their rights nor those of their family members had been violated in the past two years, and 24 percent said the opposite. The most frequent violations occurred with regard to the right for free healthcare, labor and fair trial (8 percent each). Only seven percent said they had managed to defend their rights and 16 percent could not do that.

The most vulnerable categories of Russian citizens are the poor (21 percent), pensioners and people with disabilities (15 percent) and people with little legal knowledge (8 percent).

The respondents gave different descriptions of the judiciary: "principled people guarding the law and justice", "independent from the authorities", "corrupt extortionists", and "open to bribery". Forty-three percent said they could not be a judge: "it is hard to judge others." Twenty-four percent said they could do so easily: "there is a lot of injustice and I could try to change that."

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