Staunton, August 13 – A majority of Russians (59 percent) accept as true what state television tells them; but more than three out of four (78 percent) believe that senior officials are “hiding the truth” about the situation in Russia, and only 14 percent say they are certain that everything these officials are saying is true, according to a new Levada Center poll.
But according to the same poll, Russians believe that television gives “more objective information” about foreign affairs, where they have fewer opportunities for directknowledge, even if far fewer believe what it says about domestic conditions (27 percent) and “’the life of simple Russians and society’” (25 percent) (kommersant.ru/doc/3060925).
As reported by “Kommersant,” the survey found that Russians distrust what senior officials say about domestic conditions. Thirty-six percent say that these officials “’sometimes speak the truth’ but sometimes conceal it.” Thirty percent say senior officials mostly lie, and 12 percent say they “always” conceal the truth.
For Vladimir Putin and the authorities, such attitudes are not that important, sociologists say. In fact, one Grigory Dobromelov told the Moscow newspaper that “the low level of trust to the words of bureaucrats could be ‘a projection of the old formula ‘the tsar is good but the boyars are bad.
But distrust in some officials may spread to others and that constitutes a potential if not immediate problem for the Kremlin. The poll found that 42 percent of Russians are themselves honest in their statements about Putin. Thirty-two percent say that only about half of their fellow citizens tell the truth about that.