Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Window on Eurasia: Social Networks Surpass Radio as Source for News in Moscow, Poll Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 16 – While Muscovites still overwhelmingly rely on television for their daily news, residents of the Russian capital now turn to social networks and the Internet more generally more often than they do to radio, a change that is likely to change political and social views there and prompt the Kremlin to intervene more actively in such channels.

            Even more intriguing than this shift in Moscow, the Levada Center reported, has been an analogous one outside the ring road.  There, the pollsters reported last week, most people still rely on television but rely on social networks and the internet almost as much as they do on radio and associates (tatar-centr.blogspot.com/2013/07/blog-post_1959.html).

            The figures for Moscow are especially striking. Eighty-five percent of the 1000-person sample said that they relied on television for news, 29 percent said they used newspapers and magazines, 27 percent Internet publications, 24 percent friends and associates, 22 percent on social networks, and 20 percent on radio broadcasts (levada.ru/15-07-2013/istochniki-informatsii-moskvichei).

            Respondents were allowed to give more than one answer.  Among Muscovites over 50, a slightly higher percentage listed television as their source for news. Among students and youth as a whole, far higher percentages listed social networks, 55 percent for students and 42 percent among those under 24.

            Those slightly older also turned to the Internet and social networks, with 37 percent of those aged 25 to 39 saying they used the Internet for news and 35 percent saying they relied on social networks.  More than half of all Muscovites and 44 percent of all Russians said they used the Internet daily or “almost daily.”

            Ninety-three percent of the students and 60 percent of those with higher education used the Internet every day, while 63 percent of pensioners in the country as a whole never used it.  But, the Levada Center reported, “18 percent of Muscovite pensioners use the Internet on a daily basis.”

            Asked which social network they use, 39 percent of Muscovites said they use “Vkontakte,” compared to 27 percent of all Russians. Thirty-one percent of residents of the capital use “Odnoklassniki,” but 35 percent of all Russians do.  Especially important, nearly one Muscovite in five – 19 percent – use Facebook.
            Russian officials and especially the heads of federal subjects are making use of social networks. This week, Medialogia rated the governors on the basis of citations to their blogs. Chechnya’s Ramzan Kadyrov and Daghestan’s Ramazan Abdulatipov led the list, far outdistancing all others (www.mlg.ru/company/pr/2538/).

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