Zhilina L.V. – Japanese students’ vision of Russia (based on 2007 and 2012 polls)

This research was conducted as part of “Forming public opinion about neighboring countries: Russia and Japan as viewed by students” project and was supported by Japanese foundation grants of 2007 and 2012. The main objective of the research was analysis of change in public opinion and vision of Russia and Russians (Japan and Japanese) by Japanese (Russian) students for the last 5 years. Empirical data, that was used for the article is the result of polls that were held by the author in 2007 and 2012 in the universities of Japan and Russia. The polls were held in two phases with the interval of 5 years using the same questionnaires (example is attached to the article). This interval is feasible as during this time the studying period at universities has ended and it means that there is a new students’ audience; there are also big changes in economic situation, some aspects of the political dialogue between our countries have changed. In this article we would like to introduce the study findings that were made on analysis of Japanese students’ opinion. Students of Japanese Women’s University and Aoyama Gakuin University took part in the poll, and we want to express our special gratitude to the professors and students of these universities for their cooperation.

Let’s settle upon the question why we have chosen students as the respondents of the poll. We decided that the base of the university education is more fundamental and has higher cultural level, the students are well informed. The first factor that influences it is the ability of direct communication between students. It is suggested that people who receive more official education also get better ability of reading and comprehension that are necessary for getting knowledge in social studies. The second factor is the amount of collected information or knowledge that was acquired through mass media or as a part of educational process in university. In other words those who are informed better will get acquainted with the issue when it is covered by the mass media, they also will be ready to receive and comprehend it. The third factor is meaningful social contact. In general, education presupposes a greater sphere of daily activities, more groups for communication, more interpersonal contacts, which increases the possibility for social topics discussion with others. [1]

The fourth factor that influences this process includes selectiveness, reception and storage of information. As it was noted by Freedman and Sears “Selective exposure to information” is more closely connected to education, rather than to any other characteristics. They claimed that selectiveness of information is more often called selectiveness de facto, which is characterized by differences in education [2]. At the same time selective storage of information supposedly comes from the relation to the information and differences in education. The main topic of the media research is the obvious tendency to interpret and to recall the information in accordance with existing principles and values. The last factor is the character of mass media that delivers the information. Therefore, most of the news on exact and social sciences is broadcasted through media that is used mostly by the people of a higher social status. Print media satisfies the tastes of this social group with a higher status and focused on covering the topics that are not so new. Unlike most of information about modern advertisement news on exact and social sciences are rarely repeated and this is not good for discovering and getting to know this information by people of a lower social status. On the other hand, people with higher education who got to know the information covered massively in the past are already in the picture and because of that they get all the information on the topic easier than less educated people. It is worth to note that it is this highly educated people and ambitious students’ community from which all the future leaders of political life in society come. This in turn gives us an idea that these people will be active conductors in forming of public opinion in the country. All this gave the conviction in polling university students for this research.

For the introduction of the idea how different views and opinions of various groups of people can be we used the quota method. We chose the respondents using specific criteria on each faculty and course. Usage of quota method is convenient when there is some general totality. We have chosen 400 people in each university.  To the extent in which this sampling is representative, the conclusions based on studying it can be considered as applicable to the initial general totality. The sample size for an average research is 400-600 individuals. If we proceed from 5% of accuracy and risk magnitude equal to 0.95 then with the general totality of 5000 it is 370 people, with 10000 – 385 people, and if it’s endless, it equals to 400 people [4].  In this case there are 400 respondents among the students of universities with the date of 2007 and 2012.

Speaking about the process of public opinion formation, we should mention the following factors that influence it:

1)    Life experience of individuals (including social and economic living conditions);

2)    Interpersonal communications, that expand ones individual experience to the extent of collective experience of the reference group;

3)    Institutional settings that spread around experience of various social groups generalized in a form of ideology;

4)    Mass media that gives the possibility of using this experience in all its diversity of form and content.  Mass media which includes newspapers, magazines, television and books allows modern people to fully understand its place in a political sphere [5].

However the contribution of each factor in this process varies for different people. That’s why on the first stage the subject of our research was the awareness of Japanese students of Russia, its people and its characters, economic situation in modern Russia. This research showed what Japanese students know about Russia and where they find information about it.

The main source of information about Russia

If we will compare the results of 2012 poll and data of the research that was carried out in Japan in 2007 as a part of “Formation of public opinion of Japanese people about Russia and Russians in the beginning of 21 century. Comparative study” we can see (picture 1) that television is still on the first place among all the sources about Russia. In comparison with the 2007 poll the percentage of people who get information about Russia mostly from television rose from 42.1 % to 48.2%. The percentage of those whose main source is newspapers slashed from 31 % to 7.9%.

Picture 1.  Main sources of information about Russia for Japanese students in 2007 and 2012.

The number or respondents, who said that Internet is their main source of information rose from 12 % in 2007 to 17.4 % in 2012, and percentage of people for whom communication with their friends is the main source increased from 2.8 % to 5.5 % (doubled). Magazines and radio are approximately on the same place in 2012 (2.5 % and 1.0 %) that in 2007 (2.3 % and 0.8 %) respectively. The number of respondents who said that books are the main source of information about Russia decreased from 5.8 % to 4.5 %.

After comparison of these polls we came to the conclusion that television still influences public opinion in Japan. The degree in which young Japanese people are exposed to mass media influences their view on foreign countries and on the world in the whole. Also according to the results of the poll we can say that internet as a source of information about different countries and particularly about Russia has quite strong influence.

For the majority of young people in Japan mass media is main and only source of information about incidents that take place in the world, about foreign countries including Russia. Personal contact with people from other countries by means of going abroad is still a minority privilege. From this we can conclude that mass media has great potential in influencing public opinion about foreign countries in Japan. Compared with the USA, Germany and Hong Kong, Japanese respondents more depend on mass media (newspapers, television, magazines, weekly issues, etc) and less on interpersonal communication and personal contact [6].


–         Television (48.2 %) has potential in becoming a serious mediator with reality for Japanese youth. However for the people with wide personal contacts in countless social contexts mass media is only one of the sources of information about foreign countries and their people. Information and views that people get from the mass media is less influential when they have their own experience of communication with people from foreign countries which also effect their perception [7]. On the other hand, range of problems and topics that has to do with this experience is rather limited. For example, television is practically the only source with vivid presentation of information [8].

–         It seems that newspapers are no longer the main source of news about Russia and Russians. Attention to the foreign news shown on television is still heightened and as a result it involves the most powerful and the most predictable indicator of sympathy for one or another country which in its turn is a significant predictor in modeling and forming of public opinion about Russia in Japan.

–         Number of days/hours during which a person is exposed to the information flow from television is also a significant predictor in opinion formation about a country. With all that, higher levels of attention to the source of news about neighboring country on television and to a lesser degree in newspapers are also significant predictors of sympathy or antipathy to this country. In the final analysis, the relationship between what and how the information showed on the television and effect of it on public opinion is quite obvious.

–         As we can see (picture 1) not only mass media is the main source of formation of opinion among Japanese students about Russia and Russians. Lectures and contacts with friends give a lot more variations in forming opinion about Russia in a definite group of Japanese students, than news programs that follow certain political interests. There we can see the influence of interpersonal connections, which supplement the experience of the respondents to the level of cumulative or group experience which is quite important for student audience.

It goes without saying that mass media reflect general tendencies in society. However, at the same time it makes a decisive contribution in creation of our perception of reality. Anyway, attention to TV news is a strong basis for formation of opinion about Russia in Japan.

Sufficiency of information about Russia

The picture 2 vividly shows that the amount of received information about Russia is not sufficient for Japanese students (77.5 % in 2012 and 73.3 % in 2007). As compared with the 2007 poll, the number of people who didn’t get enough information about Russia increased in 2012.

Picture 2. Do you get enough information about Russia?

Nevertheless, the number of respondents who said that they are satisfied with the amount of information they get increased from 3.3 % to 6.3 % (almost doubled). These results show that Japanese students are interested in information about Russia. Such a conclusion in its turn gives the ground to reckon that discontent with the amount of information about Russia and Russians is a great possibility for Russian politicians to search the decision for defining the direction and fullness of the sources, which gives a real chance to improve the relations between our countries.

Words that associate with the word “Russia”

Lippman noted in his work “Public opinion” [9] that a person learns to see in his/her consciousness a big part of the world which he/she couldn’t ever see, feel, smell, hear and remember. Gradually this person creates a truthful picture of the world that exists out of reach. That’s why for every country PR means a systematic and continuous information distribution generally aimed at improvement of the country’s public image. Such PR should include convincing communicative acts intended for the foreign audience. A well-known remark of Lippman is about changeability of pictures that we don’t see at first and then identify, but rather define at first and then see. In other words, out of abundance of events and information we choose something that corresponds to existing pictures. Image of the country can be defined as a view of positive and negative (according to the historical, political, economical, military, diplomatic points of view) constant existence of the country (information about it) in mass media [10]. An image can be defined as a conceptual picture in the mind of the person about other person, thing or country. In journalistic terminology “country’s image” can be defined in the context of political, economic, military, diplomatic and religious relationships in changing internal, local and international scenarios. Influence upon the thought, behavior, feelings of the audience and readers depend on preferences of media magnates [11]. With all this public image of the country in mass media is analyzed with the help of the language that is used in mass media, and also with the help of meanings of words, phrases, metaphors, adjectives, etc, which appears as an opposition or for support of the government of the country or in connection with its policy in relation to some internal and international issues [12].

–         For 25.9 % of our respondents in 2007 the first word that came into their head as an association with the word “Russia” was “frigid climate”. The number of respondents who connected Russia with “cold climatic conditions” decreased from 25.9 % in 2007 to 16.1 % in 2012. But ideas that in Russia there are “severe cold”, “there are long and cold winters in Russia”, “winter days are long and dark”, “terrible, severe winter” is still something that our country associates with.

–         Number of the respondents who connects Russia with certain “geographical location” and “vast territories” increased from 9.7 % in 2007 to 13.8 % in 2012. Japanese students imagine that Russia is “one of the northern countries in the world”, which is located in “the most densely-populated, urbanized and industrialized region” where “forests cover the half of the country” and where “the capital is Moscow, situated in the center of the country”. Such associations as “Siberia”, “the country in the north”, “Russia is the country near Hokkaido, etc., was also mentioned.

–         As compared with the previous poll the percentage of those who connects Russia with “socialism, communism and CPSU” is practically the same – 7.9 % (8.3 % in 2007). In this context “dissolution of USSR”, “USSR and KGB”, “police“, “communists party” and also that “military men created the atmosphere of surveillance and control”, “Russia is former Soviet Union” was mentioned by the students.

As we can see Japanese students have some stable stereotypes and social myths about life in Russia, which is still connected with government policy that was held during cold war. It is probably because of that young Japanese think of Russia as of “a country that is still under control of communists ruling”, “country which is under strict control in everyday and social life”. Some of the Japanese students associate “former Soviet Republics” such as Ukraine, Belarus and Kazakhstan with Russia.

–         The number of respondents that think that their associations with Russia are connected with “political leaders and historical personalities” decreased from 8.9 % in 2007 to 7.2 % in 2012.  V.V. Putin was mentioned more often. The students also mentioned Gorbachev, Stalin, Lenin, Ekaterina II and “Tsar Romanov”. But in the 2012 poll the president Vladimir Putin was associated with Russia by 70.7 % from the number of those who connected Russia with political and historical figures of the country.

In this context the students wrote “so far Putin is powerful in Russia”, “Putin is a strong leader in the country”. There were also such answers as “Putin and KGB”, “Putin and troika”, “Putin and northern territories”, “Putin, KGB, army”.

However the former president Medvedev was mentioned only by one respondent in the 2012 poll. In our opinion it is connected with the fact, that in 2007, during the first poll, the presidency of Medvedev hadn’t started yet, and by the time of the second poll it had finished without leaving a significant mark in the minds of Japanese youth.

–         The number of respondents who marked “negative incidents and facts” decreased from 7.5 % in 2007 to 6.1 % in 2012. Such association with Russia s as “terrorism”, “Chechen terrorists”, “tense criminogenic atmosphere” inside the country and “Russian mafia” were mentioned by the Japanese students more often. Respondents noted that Russian society is deprived of political freedoms: “people cannot say and write what they think”, “limitation of information during dark days”, “political instability”. “Chernobyl” was often noted by the students in the 2012 poll. This topic became more pressing and it stirred up Japanese society after the tragic event of 2011. In our opinion, it is because of this that Chernobyl was mentioned by the Japanese students more often, compared to the previous poll. Negative perception of the facts that are connected with Russia can be characterized by the following statements of Japanese respondents:

1) Crime, mafia, killings, terror – “Russia is a country with powerful mafia”, “high crime rate and alcoholism is widely spread in Russia”.

2) Unstable economy, problems of juridical system, etc. – “economical crime”, “corruption”.

3) “Russia is not a democratic country”, “Russia is a closed country, where there is no freedom and democracy”.

4) “Russia had been isolated from the other world for a long time”.

5) “Restoration of tyranny”, “tyranny”.

6) “Cold war”.

–         It should be also mentioned that the number of students who associate Russia with territorial disputes on “northern territories” increased from 2.8 % in 2007 to 5.2 % in 2012. Such result and specifically increase in number of respondents who emphasize this problem and said that Russia is associated with “the northern territories problem” and also that Russia doesn’t want to give back Japanese territories” is quite predictable. For the last two years this problem has been widely discussed in Japan as Russia suddenly started to show its presence on these territories since November 2010.  Actions of president Medvedev who visited Kuril Islands were taken by Japan as provocation. For Japanese it wasn’t just a symbolic action. Reaction of Japan as it is known was straight and they called Japanese ambassador in Moscow to Tokyo for the conference. It was not surprising that these events were reflected in the opinions of Japanese students.

–         The number of those who associate Russia with “sport and sportsmen” decreased from 6.6 % in 2007 to 3.7 % in 2012.  It is interesting to note, that the respondents connect Russia with Russian football club CSKA, Japanese football player Keisuke Honda and with… Andrei Arshavin. Now it is not so often, but some still associate Russian sport with figure skater Evgeni Plushenko (figure skating is very popular in Japan) and with tennis player Maria Sharapova. Students wrote in their answers about “great volleyball” and “great calisthenics”. In connection with Russian sport achievements “judo” and V.V. Putin were also mentioned.

–         The number of respondents, who connected their image of Russia with “national symbols”, decreased from 5.7 % in 2007 to 4.4 % in 2012, and number of those who associated Russia with “ballet and other performances” decreased from 4.6 % to 2.6 %. Matreshka is still the most known symbol of Russia in the minds of the Japanese students.

“Ballet and other performances” is one of the main components in Russian culture for the Japanese students: “Russian school of classic ballet” which is considered to be the best in the world; “Cossack songs and daring dances” is also in the list of associations. However, association with pop-group Tatu wasn’t mentioned by respondents in this research because “Tatu sensation” ended by the time of the research in Japan.

–         The percent of those who connect “Russia” with Russian “national cuisine” increased from 6.3 % in 2007 to 7.1 % in 2012. But like in the previous poll the majority of Japanese students had associations with “vodka” which is a well-known Russian strong alcoholic drink. Answers of the type “vodka is the most widespread drink in Russia” were supported by respondents with the argument that “Russians like vodka very much”, they also guessed that it is because “it is very cold in Russia and that is why they drink in order not to be frozen” or “Russians become very cheerful after they drink vodka”. Among those respondents who mentioned Russian “national cuisine” in the 2012 poll 47.5 % stressed vodka and only then they mentioned “borsch”, “pirozhki” and “caviar”. Image of Russia being the country where people “eat caviar with spoons” is still exists.  There were also some funny answers-associations with Russia like “Whiskey, tequila and sake”. Such associations like “KGB – vodka – borsch”, “borsch – vodka – Plushenko” were also mentioned in one line.

–         We can note new groups of associations in the answers of the students in 2012:

  1. In 2007 “caps” and “fur-caps” were associated with Russia only by 4 respondents, and in 2012 such associations were mentioned by 2.6 % of the whole number of answers. The stereotype like “Russians like fur-caps and wear lots of warm clothes” became the most powerful one. Japanese student found an explanation to this fact in “cold climatic conditions during the whole year”. Some of the students (mostly girls) drew caps instead of answers because it is associated with Russia in their opinion (there were 2 such blanks in the previous poll).
  2. 1.9 % of students associate Russia with “army” and other 1.9 % associate it with “mineral resources” calling Russia and Soviet Union “the main owners of oil, natural gas, coal and nonferrous metals” and “major manufacturers of steel”. Japanese students also write that “fuel and energy resources are the main income items for Russian export”.
  3. In 2012 3 % of respondents didn’t have any special associations with Russia, they wrote “no answer”. In the previous poll this question was answered by all the respondents.

It is worth to note, that some of the answers of Japanese students about associations with Russia can be put in the category “bad public image, dark image”. It can be explained with the fact that students often connect Russia with the Soviet epoch image of which remains the same as it was in 1970s when the news about were broadcasted by mass media.  We should take into consideration the fact that visual images are sometimes very limited by those that are presented by nowadays mass media of Japan.

National traits of Russians

Mass media is the most possible source of information that forms preferences of one or another community and changes the perception of others. Mass media is the main source from which the majority of people get the information about foreign countries and people of these countries. In this situation the question about self experience that would make certain influence on this perception will not give enough useful information.

Nevertheless, one of the questions in our questionnaires was about national peculiarities of Russians and characteristic traits of their character. The term “national character” is often used for basic description of a person’s character, of his/her uniqueness and lifestyle of population of certain nation states. Such behavior is analyzed on the abstract level or as cultural behaviors without factual link to the compulsory differences that characterize a person. This term can be described as motivated psychological mechanisms that are the basis of characteristic features of the people. In particular, peoples and ethnical groups are often described in the light of their peculiar characteristic features of certain people. The set of characteristic features of national groups as essence of national character defines a complex of peculiar typical features of this or that people. All this in combination creates a unique image of this or that ethnos and it is conditioned by natural and climatic factors, by social and economical conditions and by spiritual and moral factors and events, particularly the most important milestones in the history of the country that were depicted in the historical memory and historical conscience of people and passed on from one generation to another. Although national peculiarities can include attributes that are not connected with personality (for example, intellect and religiousness) personal traits of character are still the core of all descriptions. For the practical purposes in this context we want to compare and analyze the results of the answers given by the students in 2007 and 2012. It is necessary to note the fact that the main characteristics used for the description of the national character are mostly stereotyped images of national groups and in this case it is stereotyped image of Russians.

–         According to the data of the last poll, 23.7 % of the respondents did not give answers to this question (“no answer”) which is lower than in 2007 (31 %). Students made arguments in the same way they did in 2007: “I have never met Russians”, “I don’t have any image of Russians”, “I don’t know”. Generally speaking the thoughts of Japanese students about Russians and Russian national character are the same according to the analysis of the answers of 2007 and 2012. But it should be mentioned that there is certain shift of emphasis in the answers of Japanese students.

–         Compared with the previous poll percent of those who wrote that Russians “like to drink alcohol”, that they are ”drunkards” or “alcoholics” increased dramatically from 3 % to 11.7 %.  Japanese students tried to explain this peculiarity of Russians by the following argument: “They drink vodka in order to not catch cold”. The respondents do not think that this is national tragedy, they rather think that this is a “way to improve your mood” and “element of the culture” that is used for “surviving in a cold Russian climate”. In the opinion of Japanese respondents, the fact, that environment and conditions of life have an effect on changes in national character and even on the personal character, is quite natural. In conclusion we can say that for the Japanese youth the main association with Russia and Russian national character is alcoholic drink.

–         The number of respondents who answered that Russians are “strict, stern and serious” decreased from 10.5 % in 2007 to 3.7 % in 2012 and percentage of those who answered that Russians are “rude, persistent, determined, categorical” decreased more than in the half from 5.75 % to 2.5 %.

–         In the last poll only 4.2 % of Japanese students answered that “restraint and calmness” are the main traits of Russian character. This is practically twice as little than it was in 2007 (8.25 %). The fact that values of Russians differ from those of people who live in the Land of the Rising Sun might be the possible explanation of this characteristics.  The same traits can be attributed to various societies and cultures, but in a different degree. That is why some of the respondents think that Russian are “emotionally restrained” while others call them “rude, persistent and determined” or “impetuosity and hot-headed nature”. Such evaluation does not reveal the national character, but describes people in connection with national temperament. With all that those who try to evaluate this or that trait let it through the perspective of their own national values and compare with themselves in some sense. In particular there are more individualistic traits in Russians than in Japanese and this in its turn could be evaluated by the Japanese respondents as “arrogance and coldness”. Some of the students tried to explain it with arguments like “Russians live in the northern climate that is why they are so cold”.

–         The number of respondents who told that “fortitude” is a specific psychological trait more or less characteristic for Russians decreased from 6 % in 2007 to 2.5 % in 2012.

–         The number of Japanese students who thinks that Russians are the people of “socialistic formation” increased from 3 % in 2007 to 4.5 % in 2012. “Russian collectivism” was mentioned by the respondents because according to their opinion “Russians are collectivists by nature who “want to live closely communicating with each other”.

–         According to the 2012 poll the percentage of those who called Russians “unsociable, sullen” and that “they never smile” is the same (3 %) as it was in the 2007 poll (4 %). There are lots of stereotypes connected with the climatic conditions in Russia in the answers as Japanese respondents think that the climate in Russia is “very cold and severe”. According to this the most known argument is that people who live in Russia are “unsociable and don’t know how to laugh”. It goes without saying that historical and natural conditions of nation’s development, peculiarities of its life have an impact on formation of its psychology, values, but it is worth to note that major part of Russian national traits are explained by “cold climatic conditions”. It should be also mentioned that the number of the respondents who think Russians are “rude and nervous” decreased from 3.5 % in 2007 to 1 % in 2012.

–         Compared to the previous poll, the number of those, who called the Russians “gentle and calm”, increased from 2% to 3.2%. Percentage of respondents, who supposed the national Russian trait to be “patience”, decreased from 2% in 2007 to 1% in 2012.

–         Some Japanese students think that appearance is also one of constituent parts of the Russian character. Both in 2007 and in 2012 respondents said that special feature of Russians is “beauty”, characterizing them as “beautiful people with white skin”.

–         We can point “new national traits” of Russians, which were mentioned by Japanese students during the poll in 2012:

  1. 8.7% of students called Russians “kind, friendly”. And it’s already seems logical, that Japanese respondents explain these traits by the fact that “severe climatic conditions in Russia make its population more hospitable and warm-hearted”. There were also such answers as: “I have a Russian friend. Until I knew him, I didn’t know that Russians are so friendly”.
  2. Students mentioned “new national trait” of Russians – “cold tolerance” (3%).
  3. Russians are “COOL”, 3% of Japanese students told, imagining typical Russians as “extremely open people”. In this sense emphasis on the “openness” can in a particular sense reflect the concept of spirituality in Russian culture. Notion “COOL” in Japanese culture is very universal, it expresses strong admiration, aesthetic relation to the object of admiration, admiration for behavior, appearance and style. This word has nothing to do with “coldness”, and although it’s usually considered to be a slang expression, it’s widely used by different social groups and has been used by several generations.
  4. Japanese students called Russians “patriots” (2.2%). Respondents explained Russian patriotism by “strong love for their country” and “wish to do everything for their country – Russia”.
  5. Some respondents think that Russians are “haughty” (1.7%).
  6. Students also mentioned that “Russian national character is unique and can’t be compared to any other nation”.

It is hard to explain the steady narrowing of the gap between positive and negative evaluation of Russians depending on in what context or situation they are seen and mentioned by the Japanese students. All these definitions can be considered as stereotypes of national character which sometimes have negative shade. We can assume that most of the stereotypes and prejudices are passed on from one generation to another. In another words, historical events played out, but still can be a decisive element in the whole picture and also in the perception of different countries and different peoples. The influence of novels, movies and popular literature on formation of foreign countries image among Japanese youth should not be underestimated. In this connection we can recollect the sensation of F.M. Dostoevsky’s novels that became bestsellers in Japan and the main readers were young Japanese.

All this leads to the conclusion that there is no major stereotype about Russia or Russians for the Japanese students. Nevertheless these stereotypes are not so distinct and that means that they were taken or accumulated from different sources.

As we can see changes in the public opinion may be detected by analyzing changes in personal views of people from different groups. In this research we analyzed opinions of students’ audience because we think that they have great potential that can have a great effect on public opinion about our country. Of course it is hard to extrapolate these results to the whole population, but this research may give a key to understanding the formation process of public opinion about countries and point out certain things that are useful in creation of positive attitude and views towards our country. This in its turn will allow to develop partnership between Russia and Japan more actively.

P.S. There were questions of two types in the given questionnaire:

A. Free-answer questions were meant for original narrative response in a form of the word, sentence or some sentences. The given answer is of a natural character, gives maximum information on the theme of the research (3 questions):

1) What comes into your mind first of all when you hear word “Russia”?

2) Can you explain the fact that nowadays Russia experiences economic growth?

3) What features (according to your opinion) characterize Russian people (national traits of character)?

B. Closed questions were meant for choosing one of the answer variants (3 questions):

1) What source of information about Russia do you consider to be the main?

Variants: newspapers; magazines; radio; television; books; lections; conversations with friends; Internet;

2) Do you think that you get enough information about Russia?

Variants: yes; no; difficult to answer;

3) Do you know about improvement of economic situation in Russia?

Variants: yes; I have heard something; no; have never heard about it; difficult to answer.




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Translated by Elizaveta Chepkovskaya, APIR Center

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