New Poll Results Show that 44% of Russians Support Foreign Sanctions Against Officials in Magnitsky Case

August 31, 2011

According to a new public opinion poll published by the Levada Center, 44% of Russians support US and EU sanctions against Russian officials in the case of Sergei Magnitsky, a 37-year old lawyer for the Hermitage Fund who was falsely arrested and tortured to death in police custody after he had exposed a corrupt scheme through which in excess of $230 million had been stolen by Russian government officials. Only 3% of Russians strongly oppose such sanctions.

The results of the new poll show a substantial increase in the number of Russians who are aware of the Magnitsky case and those who believe that the denial of medical care to him by officials in custody was intentional. The previous poll by the Levada Center was held a year ago, using the same Russia-wide representative sample of 1600 respondents.

The comparison of the two poll results show that the share of those who heard of the Magnitsky case has increased in the last year from 22% tо 42%. The share of those who are well informed about the Magnitsky case has risen from 6% to 15%.

In the last year, the share of Russians who believe that the denial of Sergei Magnitsky’s medical care in custody was deliberate has gone from 41% to 60%. Conversely, the share of respondents who think the denial of medical care was coincidental has gone from 11% to 5%. The share of those who remain uncertain on this matter has gone from 48% to 36%.

The new survey shows that very few believe that there will be an open and transparent investigation into the Interior Ministry officers implicated by Sergei Magnitsky in the theft of $230 million of public funds. Only 3% of Russians believe that such a transparent investigation will ever take place. Another 16% think it is “more likely than not” that it will take place. At the same time 34% think it is “rather unlikely” that such investigation will be launched, and another 16% believe there will never be such an investigation.

A year ago, 33% of Russians thought that the introduction of EU and US sanctions against Russian officials in the Magnitsky case would be an effective or rather effective measure to fight Russian corruption. This year, the share of Russians supporting EU and US sanctions in Magnitsky case has increased to 44%. Only 3% of Russians are strongly against such sanctions, another 10% have a more negative than positive view towards such sanctions, 44% remain undecided.

Levada Center Public Opinion Polls on Magnitsky Case

17-21 September 2010:
19-23 August 2011:


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