VTSIOM

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All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, or VTsIOM (Russian: Всероссийский центр изучения общественного мнения - ВЦИОМ), established in 1987, and called All-Union Center for the Study of Public Opinion till 1992, is the oldest polling institution in the post-Soviet space and is one of the leading sociological and market research companies in Russia.

The state-owned and government-run institution[1] is accountable to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs.[2]

Profile[edit]

General Information[edit]

VTsIOM is the oldest sociological company in the post-Soviet area. It was established in 1987 under the decree issued by VCSPS (All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions) and USSR State Committee of Labor as All-Union Public Opinion Research Center (in 1992 renamed as – Russian Public Opinion Research Center). (For further details about the history of VTsIOM see “History of VCIOM” ). VTsIOM conducts “full cycle” marketing, social and political research – from instrument design and data collection to analysis and presentation of findings to the clients.[3]

VTsIOM holds the status of scientific institution and publishes its own journal “Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic and Social Changes”,[4] oversees the work of its Department at the State University- Higher School of Economics and the work of its Research Center at the Russian State Social University. VTsIOM also holds regular meetings of its Expert Council, which involves the leading Russian sociologists. [For further details about scientific potential of the Center see “Science and Teaching”].

According to the “Medialogy”,[5] VTsIOM holds the top score in media citation index (among other Russian polling organizations). The data based on VTsIOM research is published in the most popular Russian and foreign mass media [Reuters, Financial Times, Bloomberg, BBC, КоммерсантЪ, Ведомости and others]. [For further details, please, see the links: “VTsIOM data publications in Russian mass media”, “VTsIOM data publications in foreign mass media”]

VTsIOM is the member of international professional networks (Intersearch, Eurasian Monitor, etc.) and is guided by the ESOMAR standards and norms [6]

There are more than 70 specialists employed in the company headquarters in Moscow (with an expertise in sociology, marketing, political science, finance, psychology, statistics, etc.…), as well as dozens in its offices around the country. The head of the Center is Valery Fedorov. The company staff holds post-graduate degrees (doctoral and master) from the best Russian and international higher educational establishments (Moscow and Saint-Petersburg State Universities, Diplomatic Academy of Vienna, Moscow Diplomatic Academy, Higher School of Economics and others). [For more details about scientific potential of the Center see “Science & Teaching”].

VTsIOM branch offices operate in all 7 Federal Districts of Russian Federation. Besides own branches, Center has partnership agreements with significant number of local research firms. VTsIOM has its own interviewers’ network, which consists of about 5000 people.

Research[edit]

VTsIOM conducts research both on regional and federal level, as well as in the post-Soviet space (together with colleagues from the former USSR – members of “Eurasian Monitor” Agency) and other countries. The main activities of the company are as follows:

  • politics (electoral and approvement ratings, protest potential),
  • social sphere (education, health care, family, housing, corruption),
  • business (finance and insurance, product and corporate brand development, corporate reputation, trademarks, IT and Media markets, automobile market, real estate, sports industry).

For more details see: “VTsIOM Research”, and Note: ”VTsIOM Clients and Partners”

Methodology[edit]

The wide range of research techniques, such as personal interviews, focus-groups, mystery shopping, hall tests, exit polls, expert surveys, telephone interviews and others, is used. The methods include both descriptive and inferential statistical analysis, sample building programs, etc... Surveys based on a representative sampling are conducted weekly (1600 people in 140 points in 42 regions of Russia).

Science and Teaching[edit]

VTsIOM holds the status of scientific institution. Besides that, there is a scientific Expert Council functioning in the Center, which consists of renowned Russian sociologists, political scientists, marketologists, philosophers and historians.

VTsIOM publishes its journal “Monitoring of Public Opinion: Economic & Social Changes” (since 1993), issued 6 times a year; since 2009 it is available via open Internet access (both its Archive and recent issues).[7] Editorial Board of the Journal includes leading Russian sociologists (Russian Academy of Science staff, Moscow State University, Russian State Social University, Higher School of Economics, Institute for Market Research GFK-Rus staff and others). There is VTsIOM Department Chair in the Higher School of Economics that has been operating since 2008, and VTsIOM Research Center in the Russian State Social University operating since 2008.

VTsIOM holds competitions of scientific works among young researchers – sociologists. The most talented ones get scholarships.

The Center regularly designs and publishes monographs and edited volumes of sociological research devoted to the state of the public opinion in Russia. The recent monographs are: “From Eltsin to Putin: three epochs in the historical consciousness of Russians” (2007), “Political Russia: pre-elections guide – 2007”, “Political Dictionary of The Present” (2006), “Russia on the Crossroads of the 2d Term” (2005). [For more details see: “VCIOM Library: some of the recent books” [8]

Public opinion research dating prior to 1992 are stored in an archive. The results of the public opinion polls “Express” since 1992 until nowadays are stored in “Archivist Database”.[9]

In the extended thematic archive “Thematic Archive” – “Extended Thematic Archive” you can find extended search functions.[10]

VTsIOM staff regularly present at Russian and international scientific and practitioners’ conferences and round tables.

History[edit]

Birth. 1987. The First Russian Institute for Study of Public Opinion[edit]

The Decree to launch VTsIOM (All-Union in those times) was adopted at the July meeting of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union in 1987. The founders were VCSPS (All-Union Central Council of Trade Unions) and USSR State Committee of Labour. The first director was Tatyana Zaslavskaya (academician). Zaslavskaya tells that the Institute of Demoscopy (Federal Republic of Germany) headed by Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann was taken as a model when establishing the Center.

Grushin made lots of efforts in 1987-1988 to set up a network of sociological centers in the Republics of the USSR and regions of Russia. That made possible to conduct the first mass surveys on a representative samples among adults in November 1988; a year later these surveys became systematical.

In 1988 Yury Levada together with his students (Lev Gudkov, Boris Dubin, Alexey Levinson and others) went to work in VTsIOM (first as the head of the Theoretical Research Department and later – since 1992 as the head of the company). In an interview Yuri Levada[11] talks about the first years of VTsIOM, refers to Tatyana Zaslavskaya (Татьяна Заславская) and Boris Grushin (Борис Грушин) as the founders of VTsIOM in 1987 and states that he was invited by them to join VTsIOM.

The first among the newest. 1989-2003.[edit]

VTsIOM became widely respected for its objectivity and professionalism among academics and journalists in both the Soviet Union and the West. In the 1990s, the agency's polls gained a reputation for being very reliable.[12] During this period VTsIOM had conducted over 1,000 polls.[13]

Being the first sociological institution in the USSR (and Russia), VTsIOM served as the cradle for numerous marketing and sociological centers of the country.

In August 1989 Boris Grushin left VTsIOM to establish his own organization studying the public opinion “Vox Populi - Glas Naroda” (People’s Voice).[14]

In 1992 the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) that was originally established as a Division of the Center for raising charity funds, separated from VTsIOM. In 1999 VCIOM got the status of the scientific institute.

2003. Conflict[edit]

Although VTsIOM received no budget money and funded itself with private and public sector polling contracts (grants) from the breakdown of Soviet Union in 1992 to 2003, Levada had not addressed the fact that the polling agency remained a state-owned company as a FGUP (Russian abbreviation for: Federal State Unit). In 2003 the Ministry of Property of the Russian Federation decided to transform FGUP VTsIOM to JSC “Russian Public Opinion Research Center”, 100% share of which was to be held by the state. There still would have been no budget allocated for it from the state and the company was to continue its work based on financing from both private and public institutions. However this change was taken by Yuri Levada as an attempt to affect the outcomes of VTsIOM studies. As a result, the previous VTsIOM employees left the company and followed Yuri Levada to the new established non-governmental Levada Centre.[1]

A young political scientist - Valery Fedorov who, as some sources note,[15] was close to the Administration of the President of the Russian Federation headed the office.

VTsIOM carried on research programs introduced by its previous staff and continued to publish “Monitoring of Public Opinion” journal (in 2003 the previous editorial board members began to publish a new journal “Public Opinion Herald”).

There is conflicting data about response from other Russian sociologists to the breakup of VTsIOM. Some sources [16] report that every sociologist left with Levada. Others claims they were silent, except for Grushin.[17] The dispute over the legality of using the VTsIOM brand in sociological community ended up in 2004 The Federal Antimonopoly Service decided to give VTsIOM the full right of use of the brand “VTsIOM” and prohibited Levada-Center to use it.

When asked about VTsIOM management change during his visit to Columbia University in the United States in September 2003, Russian president Vladimir Putin was supportive of the change in management.[18]

VTsIOM today. Main State Sociological Center[edit]

The research priorities today are political ratings, social mood indices, governmental programs and reforms. VTsIOM still conducts research for the most significant Russian private and public institutions.[19] New - applied and pragmatic focus of research programs is expressed in a change in its slogan - “Information for success!” instead of the former “From opinion – towards understanding”.

Critics[edit]

The Center is sometimes criticized by its “subjects” of study. Gennady Zyuganov (leader of Communist Party of Russian Federation) criticizes the objectivity of VTsIOM studies: “I think this is an unprofessional study”, - said Chairman of Communist party Central Committee G. Ziuganov, evaluating upon media request results of VTsIOM study dedicated to the fate of Lenin Mausoleum (according to this study Russians support the burial of Lenin in the cemetery instead of keeping him in the Mausoleum).[20] Company was sometimes accused of having “special” relationship with The Kremlin. “The New Times” magazine published the series of reports “Corruption in Russia” about manipulations that VTsIOM uses in favor of the Presidential Administration.[21] VTsIOM started a lawsuit against “The New Times” and won it after 10-months trial the Court acknowledged the published material doesn’t correspond to the reality. The Court made the magazine publish the refutation [22] and the reporter who wrote the articles to pay fine.

VTsIOM research[edit]

VTsIOM conducts research on 3 main directions on regional and federal levels, in post-soviet space, as well as in US, Asian and European countries:

  • politics (electoral research, approvement ratings, etc.…),
  • social sphere (education, health care, family, housing and communal services, real estate market, corruption),
  • business (finance and insurance, real estate market, product and corporate brand development, corporate reputation development, trademark expertise, information technology market, media measurement, sports industry, automobile market) et cetera.

VTsIOM regularly coordinates and implements international research projects for foreign and Russian customers such as UNDP, US State Department, NATO Bureau in Moscow and others. (For more details see the Note“VTsIOM: Clients and Partners”). Thus, since 2004 the Center has taken an active participation in designing the system of regular sociological researching in post-soviet area (in the framework of “Eurasian Monitor”:,[23] VTsIOM is one of the founders of “Eurasian Monitor” as well as other sociological services in the former USSR republics.

Selected VTsIOM projects (throughout recent 5 years)

  • Exit Polls at parliamentary and presidential elections (client – “1st TV Channel”) 2007 - 2008
  • Evaluation of the company-employer image” (“RosNeft”) 2007
  • Evaluation of the company-employer image” ("Severstal") 2008
  • Evaluation of the company-employer image” (“RusAl – management company") 2007
  • Study on the Brand General Fame” (“Heineken-Commercial”) 2007
  • Social Adaptation of HIV-infected: estimating the situation in healthcare, education and employment (UNDP) 2007
  • Study of national relationship upon the results of Nationwide surveys (Institute for Diaspora and Integration) 2007
  • Study of entrepreneurial environment conditions, evaluation of business and power interaction (RSPP) 2007-2008
  • Study of the level of trust of Russians towards mass media (Office of the Public Chamber of Russia) 2007
  • Attitude of Russians towards Justice (Office of the Public Chamber of Russia) 2007
  • Sociological research on unfair competition. (Federal Antimonopoly Service) 2007
  • Factors and perspectives of the development of football in Russia”' (National Football Academy” Fund) 2006
  • Evaluation of housing attractiveness of investment project “Bolshoe Domodedovo” ("Coalco") 2006-2007
  • Study of the perception of NATO by Russians (NATO Bureau in Moscow) 2006
  • Analysis and evaluation of the perception of corruption in the public sector by Ppopulation (UNDP and RF Accounting Chamber) 2006
  • Investment Behavior of the Population and Awareness about the Deposit Insurance System (Deposit Insurance Agency) 2005-2006
  • Study on the perception of large pharmaceutical brands in Russia and Eastern European countries (Stanton Beringer consulting), annually since 2005
  • Small enterprises functioning conditions in the regions of Russia (OPORA Russia) 2004-2006
  • Evaluation of the reputatuional indicators” (“Aeroflot” – Russian Airlines), annually beginning since 2005
  • Syndicated research of corporate reputation of 10 biggest companies of Russia”, twice a year since 2004
  • Monitoring of the main indicators of social mood in post-soviet area countries. Participants: leading sociological services in 14 countries of post-soviet area. Twice a year since 2003, in the framework of “Eurasian Monitor”

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Yablokova, Oksana (2003-09-10). "Levada Leaves VTsIOM for VTsIOM-A". The Moscow Times. Archived from the original on 2011-06-17. 
  2. ^ Oksana Yablokova (3 September 2003). "Ministry Defends VTsIOM Overhaul". Moscow Times. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  3. ^ VCIOM:Clients and Partners
  4. ^ Monitoring of Public Opinion
  5. ^ Media-Ratings of Sociology Centers
  6. ^ ESOMAR Professional Network
  7. ^ “Monitoring” Journal Archive
  8. ^ Library
  9. ^ Archivist database
  10. ^ Thematic Archive
  11. ^ Founders of VTsIOM
  12. ^ A free-access, English-language assessment of the accuracy of poll ratings published by VTsIOM throughout the 1996 presidential and parliamentary election year is offered by an Indiana University site at Indiana University.
  13. ^ Nezavisimaya gazeta
  14. ^ [Grushin B. Far and Close Approaches towards establishing VCIOM/ The Public Dash and the Birth of New Sociology: 20 years of monitoring. – M.: Novoe Izdatelstvo, 2008. - С. 18—22.; Zaslavskaya T. How VTsIOM was born/ The Public Dash and the Birth of New Sociology: 20 years of monitoring. — С. 11—17.]
  15. ^ Valery Fedorov and RF Presidential Administration
  16. ^ Levin
  17. ^ Everybody was silent
  18. ^ Vladimir Putin at Columbia University
  19. ^ [VTsIOM: Clients and Partners]
  20. ^ Ziuganov about the results of VTsIOM opinion poll on Lenin Mausoleum
  21. ^ The New Times: Fees for Loyalty
  22. ^ Refutation of New Times
  23. ^ Eurasia Monitor

External links[edit]