Press-releases, Publications

Political participation and relations with the state in Russia

The Russians’ interest in politics overall has not changed. 3% of respondents are interested to a very large extent, 9% – to a large extent, 35% – to a medium extent, 26% – to a small extent, 27% – are not interested at all. Compared to 2020, significant changes are noticeable only in one category: the number of those who are not interested in politics at all has increased by 6%  – in 2020 it was 21%, in 2021 – 27%.  

To what extent are you interested in politics?

to a very large extent65252332533
to a large extent15109109129813109
to a medium extent4433363734363837333935
to a small extent2332322732303129302726
not interested at all1220172022181822192127
It is difficult to say<14112121<10

Almost a half of respondents (45%) indicated that they closely follow politics, but that they do not intend to take an active part in political life. Only 3% take part in the activities or support of political forces. 27% are indifferent to what is happening in political life in Russia, and 23% are outspokenly distant from the political sphere. In other words, exactly half of the Russian population is outside of politics.

Which of the following statements is most consistent with your involvement in political activities?

The number of those who believe that they “can influence the decision-making in the country and the region” was minimal in 2013-2014 (during the recession of protests in 2011-2013) and in 2016 after the “Crimean mobilization” and the economic crisis of 2015. The share of these opinions started to grow with the worsening economic situation and dissatisfaction with the pension reform. By the beginning of 2021, the percentage of such respondents has reached its maximum – 24%. 75% believe in their inability to influence the government. The situation is somewhat better in the areas where respondents live: here 34% believe that they “can influence decision-making in their district or city” (8% – to a certain extent, 26% – to some extent), while 65% believe that they are deprived of such opportunities.

Can such people as you influence the decision-making of the government in the country?

 Feb. 06Feb. 10Jan. 12Feb. 12Mar.13Mar.14Mar.15Aug.16Apr.17Dec.18June.19Feb.21
Definitely yes224131313435
To some extent131215141011151112161619
Rather not393428393538383831363331
Definitely not455151424947404951424644
It is difficult to say222443413222

Can such people as you influence the decision-making in your region, city, or district?

 Feb. 06Feb. 10Jan. 12Feb. 12Mar.13Mar.14Mar.15Aug.16Apr.17Dec.18June.19Feb.21
Definitely yes323121413668
To some extent211621211418181614272526
Rather not363427383438353831312929
Definitely not394647374641394348343736
It is difficult to say224442424221

In a situation of deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the majority of the population, conservative sentiments and illusions of state paternalism are noticeably growing. People want the state’s concern for them. In response to the question about relations between the state and citizens, 68% of Russians believe that the state should take care of its citizens and provide them with a decent standard of living. This is the highest figure since 2006. The share of Russians who prefer this model of interaction with the state has grown significantly over the past few years: in 2015, 49% of respondents thought so, in 2020 – already 60%, and in 2021 – 68%.

At the same time, the share of those who believe that the state should establish general “rules of the game” and monitor their observance has been decreasing. In 2015, 41% thought so; in 2021, only 24% thought so.

A steadily small number of respondents believe that the state should minimize interference in the lives of citizens – 6% in 2021.

Lev Gudkov

This survey was conducted February 18 – 24, 2021, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1601 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.