Press release №2192
02.07.2019
BELIEF IN THE SUPERNATURAL

IN BRIEF

  • Today far fewer Russians are superstitious and believe in the supernal than two years ago. More respondents remain undetermined

More Russians show skepticism about the supernatural phenomena.

MOSCOW, July 2, 2019. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the findings of a survey describing the Russian attitudes towards superstition and their belief in the supernatural.

Over a quarter of a century the attitudes of Russians towards beliefs in superstition, bewitchery and other “miracles” have become more determined and more skeptical. Fewer Russians believe in hypnotic treatment (22% vs 41% in 2015 and 63% in 1990). Much more Russians doubt that spiritualistic seance can be effective (13% vs 16% two years ago). The share of those who believe in UFOs is decreasing as well (20% vs 25% n 2015).

Over the recent two years the percentage of those who believe that certain people have witchcraft and spellcasting skills has sharply decreased (from 48% in 2015 to 31% in 2019). At the same time, the share of the undefined respondents has increased (from 8% in 2015 to 22% in 2019). About one-third of Russians (31%) place credence in the existence of people with the abilities to witch or cast a spell; those respondents are mainly women (36%).

Today fewer Russians (33%) believe in superstitions than it was in 2015 (50%) and 2000 (57%).  The number of those who do not take superstition seriously or fail to describe their attitudes towards superstition has also grown up (from 42% in 2015 to 44% in 2019; from 8% in 2015 to 23% in 2019). Belief in astrological predictions has also weakened (33% in 2000; 31% in 2015; 15% today).

Remarkably, today more Russians have undetermined attitudes towards paranormal phenomena than in 2015. The share of those who are not sure if people with the abilities to forecast the future exist has increased by 20 p.p. (27% vs 7% in 2015). The percentage of those who are not confident if diseases can be cured using biofield has increased by 19 p.p. (31% vs 12% in 2015). The shares of respondents who are not sure if thoughts can be transmitted over distance and objects can be moved by thought have risen by 17 p.p. (25% vs 8% in 2015).

VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on June 28, 2019. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based 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 2.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

Do you believe, or not, in…?  (closed-ended question, one answer per line, %)
    I believe I do not believe Not sure

Foretelling the future

2019

31

42

27

2015 55 38 7
1990 * 43 21 36
Superstitious beliefs 2019 33 44 23
2015 50 42 8
2000 57 39 4
1990 * 50 26 24
Witchcraft, putting a spell on someone  2019 31 47 22
2015 48 44 8
1990 * 37 33 30
Using hypnosis to cure diseases 2019 22 51 27
2015 41 49 10
1990 * 63 12 25
Using biofield  to cure diseases 2019 16 53 31
2015 35 53 12
1990 * 49 13 38
Horoscopes, astrological forecast, zodiac advice 2019 15 64 21
2015 31 62 7
2000 ** 33 56 11
Transferring and receiving  thoughts at a distance   2019 18 57 25
2015 28 64 8
1990 * 41 26 33
Flying saucers on Earth 2019 20 57 23
2015 25 62 13
2000 *** 29 56 15
1990 * 33 28 39
Telekinesis 2019 18 57 25
2015 19 73 8
1990 * 24 41 35
Communicating with the souls of the dead 2019 13 67 20
2015 16 76 8
1990 * 10 67 23

*In1990, all-Russian survey representative of urban and rural population aged over 16; sample size  - 1,685 respondents

** In 2000 the question was “Do you believe in the predictions of astrologers?”

*** In 2000 the question was «Do you believe that aliens visit the Earth?” 

Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!
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