Press release №2337
17.05.2021
COSMONAUTICS DAY

IN BRIEF

  • As eleven years ago, 69% of Russians know when the first flight into space was made – April 12th 1961
  • Russia should participate in space exploration. As in 2018-2019 (90%), today 91% of Russians think so
  • Over sixteen years, Russia’s purpose of space exploration has been the development of science and technology (51%).

April 12, 2021. VCIOM presents the data of a survey devoted to Cosmonautics Day.

As eleven years ago, 69% of Russians are aware when the first human flight into space was made – April 12th (and /or) 1961. Three percent of Russians were wrong to opt for a date before 1961; 8% were wrong to choose a period after.

The name of the first spaceman is known to 97% of respondents. This share is not dependent on respondent’s gender, age or place of living (96-100%).

Russia should take part in space exploration. This opinion is shared by 91% of Russians, as in 2018-2019 (90%). Younger Russians aged 18-24 are less likely to think so (84%); they are twice as likely to consider that it is not essential to Russia to explore space (15% vs 7% among all survey respondents).

Despite challenging economic conditions, Russia should not cut the budget on space programs, according to 75% of Russians. Every second considers that it is better to keep the budget at the current levels (50%); they are often respondents living in rural area (59%). Every fourth respondent believes that government space spending should be increased (25%, often metropolitan residents — 30%).

Over sixteen years the main purpose of Russia’s participation in space exploration has been the development of science and technology (51%, 49-59% during the monitoring study). Another important reason, according to Russians, is national defense (40%, −4 p.p. since 2019). Every fifth respondent (22%) considers space exploration as an opportunity to develop aerospace industry and to create more jobs; 17%, as an opportunity to compete on an equal footing with the U.S., EU and China.

Should Russia strive to be the first to send a mission to Mars? The Russian opinions split: 42% of Russians have favorable views; 48% oppose them. The former stance is shared by Russians with secondary, secondary special and incomplete education diplomas (45-47%), where the latter is often expressed by respondents with complete or incomplete higher education diplomas (54%).

Russian nationwide VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on April 8, 2021. A total of 1,600 of Russians aged 18 and older took part in the survey. Results are based on telephone interviews. Stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of Russian landline and mobile phone numbers was used. 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 to the wording of questions and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

Let us change the topic and talk about cosmonautics. Do you know when the first human flight into space was made? If so, can you specify the day, month and year?  (open-ended question, one answer  based on the respondent's answers, % of total respondents)
  2010* 2021
Before 1961 2 3
12 April 1961** 64 69
After 1961 6 8
Other 2 0
Do not know/ do not remember 26 20

*In 2010, respondents had to cite only the year of the fist space flight.

**”April 12th”, “1961” and “12th April 1961” answers were combined into one.

Do you know who the first spaceman was? If so, what is his complete name?  (one answer  based on the respondent's answers, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Men Women Ages 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 +
Gagarin/ Yuri Gagarin 97 97 97 96 96 97 97 99
Other 1 1 1 0 1 0 1 1
Don’t  know / Do not remember 2 2 2 4 3 3 2 0
In your opinion, should Russia take part in space exploration, or not? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  2018 2019 2021
Rather yes 90 90 91
Rather no 6 7 7
Don’t   know 4 3 2
In your opinion, should Russia take part in space exploration, or not? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Men Women Ages 18-24 25-34 35-44 45-59 60 +
Rather yes 91 92 90 84 90 89 93 92
Rather no 7 7 7 15 8 7 6 4
Don’t know 2 1 3 1 2 4 1 4
In your opinion, is it better to Russia to cut or not to cut the space budget in today’s economic challenges?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Moscow, St Petersburg Million-plus cities 500-950 thousand inhabitants 100–500 thousand inhabitants Less than 100 thousand Rural area
It is better to cut the space budget   15 11 17 20 17 14 13
It is better to keep the  space spending at the same level  50 48 52 47 44 48 59
It is better to increase the space spending   25 30 22 28 27 26 20
Don’t know 10 11 9 5 12 12 8
In your opinion, why should Russia participate in space exploration? (closed-ended question, up to 2  answers, % of those who consider that Russia should participate in space exploration or failed to find an answer why such participation is important)
  2005 2011 2012 2018 2019 2021
To develop science and technology 52 53 59 53 49 51
National defense 44 44 54 46 44 40
Development of aerospace industry, creating new jobs   10 14 14 21 24 22
To have an opportunity to compete on an equal footing with the U.S., EU and China 10 13 12 16 17 17
To keep Russia’s international prestige 17 18 19 14 14 15
To search for new worlds and establish contacts with extra-terrestrial civilizations    3 8 6 8 8 8
To participate with other countries in flights to Moon and Mars 4 9 7 9 7 8
To develop space tourism 1 4 3 3 3 3
Don’t know 6 4 3 3 4 3
In your opinion, should Russia strive to be the first country to send a mission to Mars, or not? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents Incomplete secondary education Secondary education (school, vocational school) Vocational secondary education (technical school) Incomplete higher (not less than three years in a higher education institution), higher  education
Rather yes 42 47 45 46 38
Rather no 48 34 42 44 54
Don’t know 10 19 13 10 8
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