The Russian FSB Is Becoming More Popular Than Ever

February 8, 2018

Recent research shows that a career in Russia’s infamous, and yet highly mysterious security services has risen significantly since Vladimir Putin became president.  According to data published by FOM (Public Opinion Fund) almost half of Russians (45%) would like to see their children working in the Federal Security Services, compared with just 29% back in 2001.

Since 2001 the number of people who positively evaluate the work of the country’s security services has increased from 35 per cent to 66 per cent. The number of Russians who consider a career at the FSB (the successor the the Soviet KGB) a worthwhile life pursuit has increased to 69 per cent; with 76 per cent of that figure represented by young people under the age of 30. The number of people who view work at the FSB in a negative light also declined from 34 per cent to 11 per cent. In addition, the amount of people who think that work in the security services is safe has increased by 27 per cent.

Researchers claim that popularity growth of special services is linked to the perceived confrontation with the West, which has formed a critical part of Vladimir Putin’s rhetoric since the annexation of Crimea in 2014.  Another important factor is Putin himself, who often boasts of his involvement in the KGB.  Nevertheless, the security services have never claimed an overwhelmingly positive reputation in Russia, and have never been completely free of suspicion in the eyes of the general population.

Sociologist Grigory Kertman claims that: “Information about prevented terrorist attacks in Russia and abroad gave a new justification for the existence of the secret service for Russians and the danger of their interference in the private lives of citizens slipped into the background”.

Elena Omelchenko, Director of the Centre for Youth Studies in St. Petersburg claimed: “This is the reaction to the unstable situation in the country, as this career appears to be safe and stable. In terms of social development police, special services and army are also considered as reliable career opportunity. There is no need to link these results to the growth of patriotism. It is more about being pragmatic”.

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