Staunton, July 16 – Some Russian fears, like dying in an airplane accident or suffering as a result of a fire, are largely independent of how much coverage their sources are given by the public or social media. But most are profoundly affected by that, with coverage driving up such fears and the absence of coverage driving them down.
That is the conclusion of the latest quarterly report on National Index of Concerns compiled by Moscow sociologists (anxiety.cros.ru/). In the past three months, it says, coverage of plans to build dumps near residential areas and of the Russian Orthodox activists pushing for construction of new churches have driven those phobias dramatically upwards.
At the same time, a paucity of coverage of dog bites, insect bites, and ethnic crime have driven those concerns down. Most other fears Russians have, including about the possible consequences of the deterioration of the international situation, have remained about where they were.
What makes this study especially useful is that it seeks to identify which fears are underlying continuing and which are driven by the government media or social networks and provides data which can be compared over time about these factors, thereby allowing observers to see the real impact of the two kinds of media on fears in that society.