Benchmarking Public Demand: Russia’s Appetite for Internet Control

Published February 2015

This report explores the Russian public demand for internet freedom. Produced by Erik Nisbet with the Center for Global Communication Studies and the Russian Public Opinion Research Center, the study seeks to uncover attitudes and opinions about internet regulation, censorship of online content, and the potential for citizen mobilization and protest.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Almost half (49%) of all Russians believe that information on the Internet needs to be censored;
  • A plurality (42%) of Russians believe foreign countries are using the Internet against Russia and its interests. About one-quarter of Russians think the Internet threatens political stability (24%);
  • About four out of five Russians (81%) stated a negative feeling toward calls to protest against the government and change political leadership;
  • The Russian government and the Russian security service were virtually tied in the percentage of Russians (42% and 41% respectively) that cited these organizations as trusted regulators of the Internet;
  • 51% of Russian believe the primary motivation of government legislation creating a blacklist of websites is the maintenance of political stability versus 13% who believe the primarily motivation was limiting democratic freedoms;
  • 39% of Russian believe personal blogs should be regulated the same as mass media websites.


Click here for the Russian version.

CGCS and the IPO would like to thank the SecDev Foundation for the translation of this report into Russian


Read the companion piece to “Benchmarking Public Demand” by Gregory Asmolov, “Welcoming the Dragon: The Role of Public Opinion in Russian Internet Regulation.”

This report is part of a series of publications that seek to uncover the nuances surrounding the demand for internet freedom through public opinion research. Click here to view the report “Benchmarking Demand: Turkey’s Contested Internet.”


This publication was produced as part of the Internet Policy Observatory project. To read more, click here.

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