More than one out of every four Russians, or 26%, have watched opposition leader Alexei Navalny’s recent investigation into President Vladimir Putin’s alleged $1.3 billion palace, according to a poll by the independent Levada Center published Monday.
Navalny’s team released the in-depth YouTube investigation — which alleges that Putin and his close associates laundered money to build the opulent Black Sea palace — after the Kremlin critic was detained upon his return from poisoning recovery in Germany. The video, which has been viewed over 110 million times, helped spark unprecedented nationwide protests in recent weeks.
However, 77% of Levada respondents who watched or heard of the investigation said it did not change their existing attitudes toward Putin.
Only 17% of Russians who watched or heard of the video said that it changed their opinion of Putin for the worse, Levada said. Another 3% said their opinions of Putin improved after the video's release.
Among respondents who had seen the video, roughly 33% said they didn't believe the information presented in the investigation compared to 17% who said they believed it.
When asked if they believe that Putin is guilty of the abuses of power Navalny accuses him of, 29% of Levada’s respondents said they believe that Putin has never abused his power. Another 24% said that even if such accusations are true, Russians’ livelihoods still improved during his time in power.
Levada also found a generational gap in attitudes toward the video, with just 11% in the 18-24 age group saying they believe the investigation is fake compared to 49% among those older than 55.
Young people were more likely to have watched the video in general, with 37% of those in the 18-24 age group watching it versus 23% of respondents aged 55 and older.
Levada conducted its survey among 1,600 people in 48 Russian regions from Jan. 29-Feb. 2.