Russia: 15 Percent of Citizens are 'Shit,' Says Kremlin Chief Pollster

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A man holds Russian national flag as riot police guard during an anti-corruption protest organized by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, on Tverskaya Street in central Moscow, Russia, June 12. Sergei Karpukhin/Reuters

Around 15 percent of Russians are "shit" for hating both Russia and President Vladimir Putin, the director of Russia's state-run polling agency told independent news channel Dozhd on Wednesday.

Valery Fedorov made the claims in light of recent anti-government protests in Russia and remarks made by state TV pundit Vladimir Solovyov—which have now become a meme—called the protesters "two percent shits."

"My personal position is that there is much more of 'this shit'," Fedorov, director of the state-run pollster WCIOM said. "Generally it is around 15 percent, according to our findings."

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Solovyov's pronouncement was a version of a popular theory in Russia that a revolution only requires about two percent of the population to replace the current elite, not the majority of the population. He was one of several Russian state pundits who sought to play down the scale of protests in Russia.

Fedorov said: "I think a large enough number of people go into discussions about the fate of Russia, not being concerned about it. These are people who have no love for our motherland. These are people who have no desire to make it better. These are people who are always ready to criticize and protest, whether they have reason for it or not," he said.

Fedorov denied that he was dismissing all protests and noted that Russians who criticize the country "from other countries of the world" also fall under the 15 percent.

Russia has seen several high-profile protests recently and even by WCIOM's statistics, Russian intentions to rally on the streets have increased lately, though Fedorov cautioned against reading too much into his company's findings.

"A promise is not the same as marriage," he said, referring to the fact that the pollster asked people whether they intended to protest which, he implied, does not necessarily show the true figures of those who have protested.

Anti-corruption activist Alexey Navalny has rallied thousands of Russian to protest across cities twice in the last year, most recently earlier this month. Meanwhile Moscow residents also summoned at least 20,000 people to the capital's streets this summer to oppose a redevelopment plan that could see them lose their apartments and be moved to accommodation further away and of lower value.