Declining Trust and Russia’s “Miracle”

12.21.2005

Citizen’s trust in governments, international institutions, and companies continues to decline, shows a new WEF survey conducted in 20 countries. Some interesting findings:

  • Trust in companies is falling in developed countries, yet in some developing economies (China, Nigeria, Kenya, Indonesia, and India) it is the strongest.
  • Russian government is the only one which enjoyed consistently increasing trust since the first poll was conducted in 2001.
  • Although there has been a decline in trust in NGOs, they still remain the most trusted institution in countries surveyed.

The fact that trust in the Russian government has increased steadily over the past few years immediately caught my eye. However, a further look at the data reveals that it is still fairly low compared to some other countries included in the survey – in India and Indonesia it is several times higher. Further, President Putin himself has noted that Russians do not trust their government becasue there is no connection between the two sides. Nonetheless, it seems that increased government spendings on social sectors are paying off. Of course, they can be sustained only as long as oil prices on international markets remain high; and if they drop – Russian government will be looking for cash to pay for everything it is committing itself to.