Results of our studies


Brexit has become the top-rated event for Russians in 2016; it is followed by the U.S. elections and military conflict in Syria. Besides that, the top five events involve Donbas conflict and Turkish coup d’état.  

МОСКВА, January 27, 2017. Russian Public Opining Research Center (VCIOM) presents the results of a survey devoted to the most important world political events happened in 2016.

1. Brexit. M
ore than two-thirds of Russians have heard about the British referendum to leave the European Union (71%). respondents are divided in the assessments of the scale of this event: 25% say that it may affect only Great Britain; 25% - several countries; 23% - the entire world. Forty percent of Russians regard the Brexit to be the beginning of the European Union dissolution. Great Britain itself will benefit from that (42%; 54% of those who are well aware of the referendum). Sixteen percent are confident that the United Kingdom will have losses due to the Brexit; 47% say this event will have negative effects on the EU.

2. US presidential elections. According to the November survey, the American election campaign attracted the attention of two-thirds of Russians (69%). As to the campaign’s transparency and integrity, Russians have ambiguous opinions: whereas 31% said the competition was open and honest (this share makes up 39% among those who kept track of elections); 39% opposed them.  Choosing between D. Trump and H. Clinton, 45% of Russians would vote for the Republican candidate. Only 4% of respondents support the former First lady of the United States.

3. Syrian war. Two-thirds of Russians kept track of the conflict in October 2016 (67%), including every fifth Russian who did it regularly (21%). Half of respondents (51%) called this conflict a war; 10% - an upheaval. One-third of respondents mentioned deterioration of the situation (34%); almost the same number (33%) say that the situation has not changed either for better or for worse.  Only 15% say that the situation has improved. Most of Russians believe that the criticism of the Russian military actions in Aleppo is groundless (73%).

4. Events in Ukraine. The percentage of Russians interested to know what happens in Ukraine was 67% at the end of summer (this is the share of those who kept track of the situation to a varying degree). At the same time, this percentage was higher in 2014-2015. The events were labeled as anarchy, lawlessness and banditry (32%) and civil war (20%). As to the situation assessments, 41% noticed a deterioration of the situation; and only 7% marked normalization.

5. Turkey coup d’etat attempt. Russians were generally indifferent towards what happened in Turkey: 60% followed the events in July but only 16% kept track of the developments regularly (44% followed news from time to time). Turkish events evoked mainly negative feelings such as distrust (24%), disappointment (14%), condemnation (12%, et cet. Turkish coup d’état attempt was carried out by the Turkish military, according to 19% of Russians; 17% say that it was caused by Western special services; 12% blame the Turkish president, 12% - radical Islamists.

The Medialogia Company carried out an analysis of the most popular events mentioned in the federal as well as social media in 2016. The top five most visible events involve Russian sport doping scandal (13894.66), the victory of D.Trump in the US elections (12620.75), Turkish coup d’état attempt (11338.27), Brexit: UK’s vote to leave the EU (9392.08) and military operations in Syria (8468.28).

The top five most cited events in social media include discussions on the possibility of the participation of the Russian national team in the Rio Olympics and the participation itself (825.7 ths), US presidential election and Trump’s victory (713.4 ths), ban on the Russia’s Paralympic Team from the participation in the Paralympics (625.1 ths), Turkish coup d’état attempt (536.0 ths) and Swedish Eurovision (522.6 ths).

The VCIOM surveys were conducted in 2016 in 130 settlements, 46 regions and 8 federal districts of Russia. The sample size involved 1600 persons (each survey). The surveys were conducted with multi-stage stratified sample based on general rule of walking and quotas at the final selection stage; the sample is representative of the Russian population aged 18 and over according to sex, age, education, type of settlement.  The margin of error (taking into account the design effect) with 95% confidence interval does not exceed 3.5%. The survey method is community-based structured face-to-face interviews. Apart from the margin of error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the field work should be taken into account.

The event rating was built using the Medialogia event visibility metric defined as the sum of event mentions in the most popular media sources. The Russian mass media analysis and monitoring of publication were carried out by the Medialogia Company using the Medialogia database including 37200 sources such as television, radio, newspaper, information agencies and online media. The period of study took place from January to December 2016.

The social media rating is based on the number of references to the media posted by the users in their social media accounts, as well as “likes” and “favourites”. Statistical information is extracted using the tool provided by the platform itself. To build the rating the Twitter, Vkontakte and FB posts were taken into account. The period of study was from January to December 2016. 

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