Press release №1545


  • Russians ambiguously assess the initiative to announce amnesty for businessmen convicted of economic crimes: one-third of Russians support it
  • one-third of them oppose it
  • Those who support the idea believe that many businessmen were wrongly convicted
  • the opponents say that thieves should be imprisoned
  • Bloggers tend to oppose the idea

The initiative to amnesty businessmen guilty of committing economic crimes is ambiguously perceived by Russians. Bloggers tend to support this initiative.

MOSCOW, May 27, 2013. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data concerning the attitudes of Russians towards the idea to amnesty businessmen convicted of economic crimes. The press release contents the social media monitoring conducted by the Social Networks Agency.

Results of nationwide poll

The idea to amnesty businessmen guilty of economic crimes is ambiguously assessed by Russians: it is supported by 33% and opposed by 36% of Russians; other 31% are hard to answer.

 The number of those supporting the idea is bigger among those who have friends being entrepreneurs (38%), rather than among those who do not know entrepreneurs (27%); the idea is also positively assessed by residents of big cities (48%) and persons who have high level of education (39%). The negative assessment is expressed by those who have low level of education (47%).

Those who support the idea of amnesty say that many entrepreneurs were wrongly convicted (23%). Thirteen percent believe that the convicted businessmen have redeemed their faults; 12% believe that it is pointless to keep imprisoned those persons who did not cause any harm to others.  Besides, 9% say that there are more serious crimes; 6% propose to give businessmen an opportunity to work and pay taxes; 5% say that being released they will be more helpful.

Respondents who negatively assess the initiative say that thieves must be imprisoned (70%). Others say that the law must be common for anyone (5%), or that being released entrepreneurs will commit a crime again (5%).

Results of social media monitoring

According to social media monitoring conducted by Social Networks Agency, the attitudes of bloggers towards this initiative can be described as negative (46% of posts) or neutral (44%); only 10% of publications were positive.

During the discussion most of social media users tried to express their opinion on the possible amnesty (84%). They discussed what categories would be amnestied in case the amnesty is announced (29%), as well as reasons and prerequisites for this initiative (18%).

The initiative Russian opinion polls were conducted on May 18-19, 2013. 1600 respondents were interviewed at 130 sampling points in 42 regions of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.4%.

Social Media Monitoring was conducted by the Social Networks Agency on April 20 – May 22, 2013 using the open search engines (, and special searching tool. A total of 206 relevant publications were analyzed.

Results of nationwide poll

Over the recent years about 600 000 businessmen were convicted of economic crimes in Russia. Many of them caused no harm to anyone. There has been an initiative to announce amnesty to those who were convicted of economic crimes. About 100 000 entrepreneurs would be released. Do you support the initiative? (close-ended question, one answer)
  Total respondents Those who have entrepreneurs among friends No
Definitely support 12 14 9
Rather support 21 24 18
Rather not support 18 18 18
Definitely not support 18 17 20
Hard to tell 31 28 35
Why do you support/oppose the initiative? (open-ended question, any number of answers)
% of those who support the amnesty of businessmen guilty of economic crimes % of those who oppose the amnesty of businessmen guilty of economic crimes
Many were wrongly convicted 23 Thieves must be imprisoned 70
They have redeemed their faults  13 Law is common for anyone 5
If there are no victims, why are they imprisoned? 12 Being released they will continue committing crimes 5
There are more serious crimes 9 Why then were they punished? 3
Let them work and pay taxes 6 It depends on why each of them is imprisoned 2
They will be more profit if they are released 5 Others 1
each case should be examined separately  3 Hard to tell 15
Their imprisonment costs too much 3    
Let them pay and be released 2    
Our laws are far from being perfect 2    
Others 2    
Hard to tell 22    

Results of social media monitoring

Attitudes of social media users towards the initiative (% of the total number of relevant publications)
Negative 46
Neutral 44
Positive 10

Questions  discussed within this subject (% of the total number of relevant publications)*
General attitudes towards possible amnesty 83
Persons under amnesty in case the law is adopted 29
Reasons and prerequisites for the initiative 18

* The sum exceeds 100% as many other topics were discussed in one publication.


Note: Using materials from the site or, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!

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