The Problem of Trust in Russian Public Opinion

Yuri Levada

in Trust and Democratic Transition in Post-Communist Europe

Published by British Academy

Published in print September 2004 | ISBN: 9780197263136
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734922 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy

The Problem of Trust in Russian Public Opinion

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Trust is closely related to other social concepts such as hope, expectations, loyalty, charismatic authority, rational considerations, and the mass imagination. Recently, ‘trust’ and a related concept, ‘social capital’, have become the subject of special interest in Russia and other post-Communist countries. Under the Soviet regime it was forbidden to conduct proper nationwide surveys of public opinion. But even if opinion surveys had been allowed, the researcher would have found it impossible to obtain any measures of public trust or distrust with respect to state institutions or leaders. In the mass mind, such terms as ‘public opinion’ did not exist. This chapter examines the problem of trust in public opinion in Russia. It compares the indices of trust in Russian social institutions (president, political parties, army, courts, church, media, etc.) with those in the United States. The chapter also summarizes the results of a survey that explored Russians' degree of trust in various countries of the world.

Keywords: Russia; United States; trust; public opinion; opinion surveys; social institutions

Chapter.  4982 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Social Psychology

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