Media, institutions, and the Russians’ trust

Cover Page


Media is one of the most important social institutions that mediates the attitude of citizens to other institutions of society. Thus, one of the key features of the contemporary society is the trust of citizens in basic social institutions. The article considers the issue of public trust in the Russian media and focuses on the question to what extent the trust of Russian citizens in the mass media depends on the trust in other state and public institutions. The authors’ conclusions are based on the comparative empirical studies in the metropolitan region conducted in 2016-2018. The data show that people do not really trust in media: about a half of respondents do not trust this institution. This is a common trend for the post-Soviet period in general. The authors used binary logistic regression, and found out that distrust in media is significantly correlated with distrust in other institutions such as the president, State Duma, law enforcement agencies, political parties, church, banks and businesses. Moreover, according to the statistical model, the lack of trust in media is determined by social-economic problems, general dissatisfaction with political system, and negative attitudes to media content and its role in the society. When studying trust in media one should take into account the ongoing transformations of media landscape: today the most trusted media are Internet and television (practically the same level of trust). There is also a clear age differentiation: trust in media generally grows with age, although the situation is opposite considering trust in the Internet. The development of media technologies and online services and networks makes it increasingly difficult to assess the level of public trust in media and other institutions.

About the authors

M M Nazarov

Institute for Social and Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences; National Research University Higher School of Economics

Author for correspondence.
Fotieva St., 6-1, Moscow, Russia, 119333; Myasnitskaya St., 9/11, Moscow, Russia, 101000


V N Ivanov

Institute for Social and Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Fotieva St., 6-1, Moscow, Russia, 119333


E A Kublitskaya

Institute for Social and Political Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences

Fotieva St., 6-1, Moscow, Russia, 119333



  1. Andreenkova A.V. Politicheskoe povedenie rossiyan [The Russians’ political behavior]. Monitoring Obshchestvennogo Mneniya 2010; 4 (In Russ.).
  2. Volchenko O.V. Doverie kak produkt vovlechennosti v informatsionnye potoki [Trust as a product of involvement into information flows]. Monitoring Obshchestvennogo Mneniya 2014; 4 (In Russ.).
  3. Kertman G.L. Socium i vlast. Interes k politike po-rossijski: motivy yavnye i skrytye [Society and power. Interest in politics in the Russian style: Explicit and implicit motives]. Politicheskie Issledovaniya 2005; 2 (In Russ.).
  4. Levashov V.K. Trevogi obshchestva i doverie k gosudarstvennym institutam [Public concerns and trust in state institutions]. Monitoring Obshchestvennogo Mneniya 2005; 4 (In Russ.).
  5. Lokosov V.V., Shults V.L. Osnovaniya konsolidatsii sovremennogo rossijskogo obshchestva. Sociologicheskie aspekty [Grounds for the Contemporary Russian Society Consolidation. Sociological Aspects]. Moscow; 2008 (In Russ.).
  6. Mironova A.A. Doverie, socialny kapital i sub’ektivnoe blagopoluchie individa [Trust, social capital, and subjective individual well-being]. Obshchestvennye Nauki i Sovremennost. 2014; 3 (In Russ.).
  7. Nazarov M.M., Ivanov V.N., Kublitskaya E.A. Politicheskie tsennosti rossijskogo obshchestva (rezultaty sravnitelnogo proekta) [Political values of the Russian society (results of the comparative research)]. RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2018; 3 (In Russ.).
  8. Nazarov M.M. Tsifrovoe pokolenie ‘dvuhtysyachnyh’: osobennosti mediapotrebleniya [The digital generation of ‘Millennials’: Peculiarities of media consumption]. Informatsionnoe Obshchestvo. 2016; 3 (In Russ.).
  9. Popov V., Tavokin E. Doverie k SMI v obshchestvennom soznanii grazhdan Rossii [Trust in media in the civil consciousness of Russia]. Gosudarstvennaya Sluzhba. 2002; 4 (In Russ.).
  10. Chuprov V.I., Mikheeva V.V. Doverie v obshchestve kak faktor preodoleniya krizisa [Trust in society as a factor of overcoming the crisis]. Socialno-gumanitarnye Znaniya. 2015; 4 (In Russ.).
  11. Sztompka P. Doverie - osnova obshchestva [Trust as the Foundation of Society]. Мoscow; 2012 (In Russ.).
  12. Ariely G. Does commercialized political coverage undermine political trust?: Evidence across European countries. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media. 2015; 59 (3).
  13. Coleman S., Ross K. The Media and the Public. “Them” and “Us” in Media Discourse. Oxford; 2010.
  14. Gallup:2016. Americans’ trust in mass media sinks to new low politics. poll/195542/americans-trust-mass-media-sinks-new-low.aspx.
  15. Gronke P., Cook T.E. Disdaining the media: The American public’s changing attitudes toward the news. Political Communication. 2007; 24.
  16. Hardy J. Western Media Systems. London, 2008.
  17. Howe N., Strauss W. Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation. Vintage Books; 2000.
  18. Inglehart R. East European value systems in global perspective. Democracy and Political Culture in Eastern Europe. New York, 2006.
  19. Jackob N.G.E. No alternatives? The relationship between perceived media dependency, use of alternative information sources and general trust in mass media. International Journal of Communication. 2010; 4.
  20. Lee T. Why they don’t trust the media: An examination of factors predicting trust. American Behavioral Scientist. 2010; 54.
  21. Meyer T. Media Democracy: How the Media Colonize Politics. Cambridge, 2002.
  22. Mierina I., Cers Е. Is communism to blame for political disenchantment in post-communist countries? Cohort analysis of adults’ political attitudes. Europe-Asia Studies. 2014; 66 (7).
  23. Norris Р., Inglehart R. Cosmopolitan Communications. Cultural Diversity in a Globalized World. Cambridge, 2009.
  24. Śuvakoviç U.V., Narbut N.P., Trotsuk I.V. The youth of Russia and Serbia: social trust and key generational problems. RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2016; 16 (4).
  25. Trotsuk I. “To trust or not to trust” is not the question; “How to study trust” is much more challenging task. Russian Sociological Review. 2016; 15 (4).
  26. Trotsuk I.V., Ivlev E.A. Few words on the high level of social distrust among the Russian youth: Civil servants’ social image. RUDN Journal of Sociology. 2016; 16 (2).
  27. Trust in Media-2016.
  28. Tsfati Y., Cappella J.N. Do people watch what they do not trust? Exploring the association between news media skepticism and exposure. Communication Research. 2003; 30.
  29. Tsfati Y., Ariely G. Individual and contextual correlates of trust in media across 44 countries. Communication Research. 2014; 41 (6).
  30. Ward P., Miller E., Pearce A., Meyer S. Predictors and extent of institutional trust in government, banks, the media and religious organisations: Evidence from cross-sectional surveys in six Asia-Pacific countries. PLoS ONE. 2016; 11 (10).



Abstract - 1010

PDF (Russian) - 570




Copyright (c) 2019 Nazarov M.M., Ivanov V.N., Kublitskaya E.A.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This website uses cookies

You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

About Cookies