Information operations · Information Warfare · Russia

Levada Study: lzhepravdy time

Alexei Levinson

Quote from Brian Whitmore:

According to a new study by the Levada Center, nearly half of Russians say they can’t distinguish truth from lies in the media.

In today’s Congressional hearing, Russian expert Timothy L. Thomas referred to “Kennan’s Long Telegram”, from 1946.  Here is the quote that he referred to, in reference to how Russians view “the truth”.  

The very disrespect of Russians for objective truth–indeed, their disbelief in its existence–leads them to view all stated facts as instruments for furtherance of one ulterior purpose or another.

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(Translated from Russian by my Chrome browser)


By Alexei Levinson

Why distinguish between truth and falsehood

The truth has always been one of the most important concepts in the Russian culture. In truth, to be built and private life of man, and all the people, and those who are ruled by them. But it always turned out that living the truth, to find the truth, to know the truth is not easy. In Soviet times, went the bitter joke about the then mainstream media: “In the” News “is not news, but in the” Pravda “there is no truth.”

Now other times, but as it became clear from a recent survey, almost half of Russians (46%) is ready to tell themselves that “such people, I often can not tell the media false information from the truth.” Disagree it proved as much: 46%. From the answers to the other questions it is clear that we are talking about the main channels. Their scope is huge. “First Channel” look, according to them, 66% of adults in Russia, “Russia 1” channel – 61%. In this case it turns out that the more people watch this TV, the less they have confidence that they see the truth (so among older look “First Channel” 79%, and feel that they can distinguish truth from falsehood, 43%).

Usually people think that “box” most believe housewives. But according to our research it turns out that the current housewives in the first place (54%) not believing in TV, and by questioning its veracity. Almost the same uncertainty (51%) experienced workers. It is believed that it is easier to filter the information to people with education. But the study showed that among those who have a high school diploma, 41% can not always tell from telepravdu telelzhi. Usually in a special account in our guide – it knows what the others are not supposed to know. However, among the executives surveyed, four out of every 10 admitted to being the same as the majority of “ordinary” people: do not know, deceive us or not.

The question is, why there is no general and complete trust in the media (which, we recall, the majority of Russians consider the state and express the official position of the state)? Replies three. First, the audience more than once occurred to discover that those who speak on TV, do not agree to make ends meet. But this is not the point. Second, at the end of the Soviet era residents understand that freedom begins with the independence of the official propaganda, with reckless lack of faith in all that is broadcast from the top. At the same time there was a belief independent new media. But now, with the independence of the media again, do not believe. Because back and skepticism.

The third and the main answer. The current media and those who control them, does not require unconditional trust on the part of the viewer / listener / reader. Installations who dictates the rules of interaction with the audience, are intended to leave the truth to the ideals of the area, but erase weaken discernment of truth and falsehood in everyday management practices (and the media activity is a part of them). Why? Because these practices are not adequately regulated by an external control for law / law and more than adequately regulated by their discretion, their will, their power. And the strength and the truth in our culture are on opposite sides: “God is not in force, but in truth.”

Author – the head of department of social and cultural studies, “Levada-Center”



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