Results of our studies


Russians do not believe the British accusations, however they are more in favor of negotiations rather than confrontation.

MOSCOW, March 26, 2018. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data of a study devoted to the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, and the British and Russia’s reaction.

The poisoning of the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter that took place in Great Britain in early March has widely resonated in Russia: 82% of respondents have heard of it. However, those who are aware are mainly older respondents rather than young Russians.

Most of those who know about the incident do not believe that Russian special agencies were involved. An attempted murder orchestrated by the Russian government is likely to be a more popular version (38%). According to the majority (81%) who are in favor of premeditated poisoning, it will not be possible to solve this crime.

Most of respondents (74%) who heard of the poisoning recognize the UK-Russia relationship deterioration but it is more perceived as a temporary thing (52%) than as a long-term confrontation (22%).

Eighty-one percent of Russians who heard of the poisoning say that the British government accusations against Russia are biased; just 5% consider that there is substance to these accusations. Despite that, negotiations (59%) seem to be a more effective way to solve the issue than a tough position aimed at upholding righteousness (28%).

The VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on March 20-21, 2018. The survey involved 2,000 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 2.2%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.


Have you heard about the poisoning of the former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury, or is this the first time you hear about that?  (closed-ended question, one answer, %)


Total respondents

Aged 18-24

Aged 25-34

Aged 35-44

Aged 45-59

60 and over

I heard a lot about that







I heard something but I do not know any details







This is the first time I hear about that








There are many versions concerning the poisoning of Sergei Skripal and his daughter. Which of the versions below do you most agree with? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who heard of the incident)


% of respondents

This is an attempted murder  conducted by the opponents of the current Russian leadership  


This is a criminal accident not related to politics


This is an accident


This is an assassination attempt conducted by Russian special forces


This is a suicide


Don’t know



In your opinion, will this assassination attempt be solved, and will the true instigator/initiator be found?

 (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who believe in premeditated poisoning)


% of respondents

Rather yes


Rather not


Don’t know



In your opinion, has the Skripal’s case influenced the relations between the UK and Russia? If yes, in what way?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who heard of the incident)


% of respondents

This case has led to serious and long-term deterioration in relations between Russia and the UK


This case has led to a temporary deterioration in relations between Russia and the UK


This case has led to an improvement in relations between Russia and the UK


This case has had no impact on the UK-Russia bilateral relations


Don’t know



The British government represented by the Prime Minister, the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and the Defense Secretary as well as  other members of the government and the parliament responded sharply to the incident; they directly accused the Russian leadership of  involvement in Skripal’s poisoning. In your opinion, are those accusations justified or not?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who heard of the incident)


% of respondents

There is substance in the British accusations against Russia; Britain seeks  to protect the British against any possible threat and to punish the guilty  


There is no substance in the British position, it is biased; they try to use any possibility to aggravate the crisis in UK-Russia relations  


Don’t know



How should the Russian government respond to the British accusations?

 (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who heard of the incident)


% of respondents

To severely uphold the justice, not to grant any indulgence to the British party, not to  take their investigation on trust


To negotiate, to take part in the international investigation of the crime


Don’t know


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