Staunton, May 10 – Truth may be the first casualty of any war, but it is not the only one at least in Russia. A new poll shows that Russians now trust government television and government websites less and independent Internet sites more than they did only two months ago.
The Group M poll of residents of cities with a population of 100,000 or more found that trust in state televison has fallen from 33 percent in early March to 23 percent now and trust in government Internet portals has declined from 26 percent to 23 percent over the same period (kommersant.ru/doc/5347382).
At the same time, the survey found that Russians trusted information contained in independent blogs and telegram channels had risen from 19 percent to 23 percent. These shifts were greatest in mid-sized cities but also were characteristic of the megalopolises like Moscow and St. Petersburg.
This combination shows that the Kremlin is gradually losing control over the media environment in which Russians live with many residents of that country obviously concluding that they can’t trust the increasingly duplicitous regime and choosing instead to place confidence in independent outlets.
That trend helps to explain why the Kremlin has expanded its campaign against all forms of independent media, but it also likely means that this campaign will backfire with Russians becoming even more distrustful of what the regime says, even if they can no longer obtain more reliable information from other sources.