May, 26 — Regular Seminar
Topic: Dynamics of Political Support in Russia during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Three Waves of the Values in Crisis Panel Survey
Speakers: Boris Sokolov (LCSR HSE), Margarita Zavadskaya (University of Helsinki, LCSR HSE), Kirill Chmel (LCSR HSE)
Ronald F. Inglehart Laboratory for Comparative Social Research announces the next regular seminar, which will be held as a Zoom session on May, 26 at 16-30 p.m. (15.30 CET). Boris Sokolov (LCSR HSE), Margarita Zavadskaya (University of Helsinki, LCSR HSE), Kirill Chmel (LCSR HSE) will deliver a report “Dynamics of Political Support in Russia during the COVID-19 Pandemic: Evidence from Three Waves of the Values in Crisis Panel Survey”.
A link to Zoom session is available after registration.
Abstract. How the COVID-19 pandemic affected the attitudes of Russians towards political institutions? The aggregate data of public opinion polls suggest that, according to various available indicators, the level of political support in Russia has slightly dropped in the early stages of the pandemic, by up to 10% compared to the pre-pandemic period. It, however, recovered relatively soon (less than in a year). Yet, this kind of data does not allow one to infer what aspects of the pandemic experience are the most important predictors of individual assessments of the government performance. To answer the latter question, this study utilizes the data from three Russian waves of the international online panel survey ‘Values in Crisis’ (ViC). The first wave was carried out in June 2020; the second - in April-May 2021; and the third - in November-December 2021. The sample sizes were 1,527, 1,199 and 1200 respectively; 761 respondents participated in all three waves. The main dependent variable is an integral index of political support that includes indicators of both diffuse and specific support. Regression modeling demonstrates that during the first wave of the pandemic in Russia (spring 2020) the direct experience of the disease and COVID-related anxiety were positively correlated with political support, while anxiety over economic losses showed negative correlation. A decrease in economic well-being had no effect on political support. Other significant predictors included right-wing political views and trust in traditional media (leading to an increase in support) and propensity to share COVID-skepticism (leading to a decrease in support). One year later, in the first half of 2021, the situation somewhat changed: neither experiencing COVID, nor COVID-related anxiety were no longer associated with support, while the effect of economic factors became more prominent. However, by the end of 2021 the effects of retrospective considerations disappeared again, while anxiety (both economic and health-related) remained to be a significant predictor of political support. Yet, the effect sizes were low, and the joint explanatory power of the pandemic-related variables was almost negligible in all three waves. Together with aggregate-level evidence, this suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has had almost no impact on political support in Russia.
Everyone interested is invited!
The working language is English.