Country assessments A-Z
Key findings in 2016
|Percentage of respondents that agree or strongly agree with the following statements||Russia||Transition region average||Germany||Italy|
|Economic situation better than 4 years ago||9||24||33||7|
|Political situation better than 4 years ago||22||28||17||9|
|Household lives better than 4 years ago||15||29||28||10|
|There is less corruption than 4 years ago||13||23||16||10|
|Satisfied with personal financial situation||19||31||55||33|
Satisfaction with the situation at the country level and with personal circumstances
Only 9 per cent of the Russian population believes that the economic situation was better in 2016 than four years prior to the survey, down from 27 per cent in 2010, a figure far below the averages for the transition region and Germany. The number of respondents who are pessimistic about the state of the economy is particularly high among those in the lower income group and those aged 60 and above. Only 22 per cent of those surveyed think that the political situation was better in 2016 than four years before, a figure again below the transition region average (28 per cent). In addition, as little as 13 per cent of respondents believe that there was less corruption in 2016 than four years before the survey.
Only 15 per cent of Russians believe that their households lived better in 2016 than they did four years before the survey (one of the lowest figures in the transition region), as opposed to 30 per cent of the Russians who took part in the 2010 survey. Moreover, only one in five respondents also report that they are satisfied with their current personal financial situation, a value significantly below the transition region average of 31 per cent and the averages for both Germany and Italy (55 and 33 per cent, respectively).
Life satisfaction has fallen from 43 per cent in 2010 to 32 per cent in 2016, particularly among those in the upper income group. As a result, Russians are now much less satisfied with their life than their counterparts in Germany and Italy, where 72 and 42 per cent of the population report being satisfied, respectively.
Lastly, 49 per cent of Russians believe that children born today will have a better future than the current generations, in line with the transition region average of 50 per cent and above the levels of optimism in the comparator countries.
Attitudes towards democracy and the market economy
Support for democracy and the market economy has weakened slightly since the last survey, from 38 and 28 per cent in 2010 to 36 and 25 per cent in 2016, respectively, and is now considerably weaker than in the comparator countries Germany and Italy. Around 30 per cent of those surveyed do not have a clear preference for a specific political or economic system, while 36 and 46 per cent of Russians think that an authoritarian system or a planned economy, respectively, could be preferable under some circumstances, two of the highest figures in the transition region. When respondents were asked, hypothetically, whether they would rather live in a country with full political liberties but weak economic growth (country B), or in one with fewer political liberties but strong economic growth (country A), 83 per cent of Russian opted for country A, as opposed to 15 per cent of Germans and 69 per cent of Italians.
When asked which democratic institutions exist in Russia, 58 per cent of the respondents mentioned gender equality, a value that is slightly above the transition region average and well above the Italian average but still below the German one, while 45 and 38 per cent indicated that freedom of speech and an independent press are also respected in the country. Only a minority of the surveyed population agree that democratic institutions such as free elections or a strong political opposition are in place. Moreover, all these percentages are below the respective transition averages. Lastly, only 34 per cent of respondents think that the country provides peace and stability, one of the lowest figures in the transition region.
Priorities for government spending
30 per cent of those surveyed believe that health care should be the main priority for extra government spending. Moreover, 19 per cent think that the government should utilise additional funding for pensions, while only 15 per cent say that education deserves more attention. Additional analysis of the LiTS III data shows that 33 and 23 per cent of Russian respondents would be willing to pay more taxes to improve the quality of their public health system and public education, respectively.
Sources of information
The main daily sources of information for Russian respondents are the television and the radio and discussions with family, friends or colleagues, mentioned by 48 and 38 per cent of those surveyed, respectively. Moreover, one in four respondents use the internet and social media on a daily basis. Newspapers are read at least once a day by only 4 per cent of the population, one of the lowest percentages in the entire transition region. The percentage of those who watch the television or listen to the radio every day is higher among the older generations and rural residents. Urban residents, young people and respondents in the middle and upper income groups report higher internet and social media usage, instead.
Only about 42 per cent of Russian respondents consider their health to be “good” or “very good”, which is below the averages for the transition region, Germany and Italy (54, 68 and 54 per cent, respectively). However, compared with 2010, self-reported health improved across all demographic groups, except for those aged 60 and above and, surprisingly, for the respondents in the upper income group.
Quality of public services
The majority of Russians are satisfied with the quality of public services in their country, with the exception of local roads, which cause dissatisfaction to about 69 per cent of the population. The satisfaction rates for the other services (water, electricity, heating, telephone lines, pipeline gas and postal services) are higher than the corresponding transition region averages and broadly in line with the German ones.
Social and economic mobility
When respondents were asked from a list of options what they thought were the most important factors for success in life in their country, 38 per cent of Russian respondents chose “effort and hard work”, while another 35 per cent opted for “intelligence and skills”, with little variation across income groups. About 19 per cent of the respondents answered “political connections”, a figure above the German average of 3 per cent, but lower than the transition region average of 21 per cent and the Italian average of 27 per cent.
Attitudes towards women
75 per cent of respondents believe it is important for their daughter to achieve a university education, while 92 per cent of female respondents and 77 per cent of male respondents think that female business executives are as competent as male business executives. Nevertheless, 53 and 72 per cent of female and male respondents also believe that men make better political leaders than women, respectively, while three-quarters of the population favour a traditional family arrangement where the man works and the woman takes care of the house and children. Lastly, 88 per cent of respondents of either gender think that a woman should do the household chores, even if her husband is not working, the second highest figure in the transition region.