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Joint Report by VTsIOM and Roscongress: 66.3% of Russians View China as Promising Economic Partner

8 September 2022
Совместный доклад ВЦИОМ и Фонда Росконгресс: 66,3% россиян считают Китай перспективным торгово-экономическим партнером

As part of the Eastern Economic Forum 2022, the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VTsIOM) conducted a survey among 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over on attitudes towards the idea of cooperation with the countries of the East in the new reality.

A joint analytical report by VTsIOM and the Roscongress Foundation, “Eastern vector”: a new path for Russians. The meaning of the East for the inhabitants of Russia in the context of the new reality, which will be presented at the EEF 2022.

It answers the following questions:

· How did Russians perceive its pivot to the East?

· What do Russians understand under the word ‘East’?

· What type of cooperation do they consider a priority? How willing are they to prefer products from the East to familiar European and American brands?

· Does it make sense to talk about the East in general without mentioning specific countries and economic zones?

The majority of Russian respondents have encountered such a concept as ‘the pivot to the East’ (66.3%). At the same time, 28.1% are firmly aware of it and 38.2% have ‘heard something’ about it, while 31% have heard about it for the first time during the survey.

By ‘pivot to the East’ respondents mean primarily trade and economic cooperation (57.6% stated that), with 22.4% seeing political cooperation. Only 4.6% see cultural cooperation in the ‘pivot to the East’.

However, if we consider the sphere of trade and economic cooperation, the promising ranking of Eastern countries, according to Russians, includes China (66.3%), India (24.1%), Iran (8.7%), Turkey (6.3%), and Kazakhstan (5.4%). However, Russians have had different experiences of products from these countries. For example, 77.4% of respondents have used goods from China and are prepared to continue doing so; 7% are prepared to give them up after their experience, while 7.1% do not want to use products from China. In the case of India, 28.1% are prepared to continue using them, 3.1% intend to give them up, and 29.9% do not want to have any experience with them.

“The Eastern Economic Forum is largest convention and exhibition for dialogue between Russia and eastern countries, mainly countries of Asia Pacific. This year, the Forum hosted a whole range of discussions on Russian-Chinese cooperation, as well as business dialogues Russia–ASEAN, Russia–Vietnam, Russia–India, and Russia–Mongolia. They bring together public officials, leading businesspeople, and expert of various countries. At the same time, as a non-financial development institute that targets improving the quality of life for Russian people, it is important for us to understand how people perceive Forum agenda. This is why we have initiated joint research together with VTsiOM and are happy to share its results,” said Alexander Stuglev, CEO and Chairman of the Roscongress Foundation.

Kirill Rodin, Director of Government Relations at VTsIOM, commented on the publication of the joint analytical report: “We prepared the analytical material as part of the Eastern Economic Forum, whose main theme ‘The Path to a Multipolar World' is relevant and significant. VTsIOM conducted a nationwide survey of the population and on the basis of this our experts prepared an analytical material reflecting the main conclusions about the attitude of Russians to the idea of a ‘pivot to the East’, the prospects for cooperation and the perception of goods from the East.”

The nationwide telephone survey was conducted on 25 August 2022, with 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over participating in it. The survey method was a telephone interview using a stratified random sample drawn from the full list of cellular phone numbers involved in the Russian Federation. The data were weighted by socio-demographic parameters. The margin of error with 95% probability does not exceed 2.5%. In addition to bias, question wording and various circumstances arising in the course of fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey data.