Press release №2019


  • Only 2% of Russians have never heard about propaganda
  • 35% express ‘distrust’ towards it
  • 24% - dislikes

Many Russians perceive propaganda negatively but they recognize its importance in certain cases.

MOSCOW, November 22, 2017. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data of a study describing Russian perceptions of propaganda.

‘Propaganda’ has negative connotations for Russians: 15% define it as ‘imposition of opinion’; 8% regard it as a lie; a further 10% have negative associations. However many word associations are neutral or hard to define: ‘agitation’ (7%), ‘making information available to the public’ (7%), ‘tool for political influence’ (7%), etc. Mentions of propaganda evoke distrust (35%) and dislike (24%). More than half of respondents (56%) say that propaganda itself harms society.

Being an unpleasant term the notion is perceived positively in the context of socially approved activities. So an overwhelming majority considers healthy lifestyles (96%), observation of road traffic rules (97%), charity (94%), world (93%) and domestic (92%) scientific achievements to be those things that need to be promoted. The major propaganda actors are the state (45%) and public organizations (35%).

The VCIOM-Sputnik Russian nationwide survey was conducted on November 16-17, 2017. The survey involved 1,200 Russians aged 18 and over, and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 3.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

Speaking about propaganda, what are the primary word associations to ‘propaganda’? (open-ended question, not more than three answers, %)
  Total respondents
Negative associations
Imposition of certain opinions, ideas, beliefs 15
Negative associations  10
Lies, untruth 8
Terrorism, extremism, Russia’s dissolution 2
Embellishing the facts, information distortion   2
Drugs, alcohol, tobacco-smoking 2
Western intervention 1
Provocation 1
Neutral and ambiguous associations
Agitation 7
Dissemination; making information available to the public 7
A tool of political influence 7
Indoctrination 5
Advertising, promotion of goods 4
Call for something 3
Mass media 3
Winning to cause 2
Neutral; it depends on the goal 2
Promoting something 2
Activities of the oppositionist political forces 1
Influencing public opinion 1
Historical heritage 1
Positive associations
Healthy lifestyle 1
This is the first time I hear about this word 2
Other 3
Don’t know 24
Propaganda is the promotion of certain political, philosophical, scientific, artistic, etc., views in the society. What emotions does propaganda evoke in you? (closed-ended question, not more than two answers, %)
  Total respondents
Distrust 35
Indifference 25
Dislikes 24
Hope 10
Disappointment 9
Liking 7
Trust 7
Don’t know 8
In your opinion, does propaganda bring more good or harm to society? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34 Aged 35-44 Aged 45-59 Aged 60 and over
More good 26 18 22 25 28 32
More harm 56 69 60 57 53 48
Don’t know 18 13 18 18 19 20
In your opinion, which of the below-mentioned things should be/should not be propagandized (promoted)?  (closed-ended question, one answer per each line, %)
  Yes, it should No, it should not Don’t know
Observance of the road traffic rules 97 2 1
Healthy lifestyles 96 3 1
Helping people, charity   94 5 1
World scientific achievements 93 6 1
Russian scientific achievements 92 6 2
New art movements 85 10 5
New philosophical movements 79 13 8
President’s political views 76 20 4
Orthodox Christianity 72 24 4
Political views of certain persons 53 39 8
Religious views of non-orthodox denominations 41 52 7
Oppositionist political views 40 50 10
Hatred towards Russia’s enemies 21 73 6
Nationalistic views in favor of certain ethnicity    10 87 3
Who can conduct propaganda? (closed-ended question, any number of answers, %)
  Total respondents
State 45
Public organizations 35
Mass media 31
Any citizen 29
Political parties 27
Religious  associations 18
No one 9
Other 2
Don’t know 5

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!

  Results of our study
  In focus