Bashkirova & Partners » Blog » Opinion Polls » Material Culture as perceived by Russians

Material Culture as perceived by Russians

Another study undertaken by Bashkirova and partners independent research agency is devoted to culture, as well as to what Russians mean when thinking of this word, and how they perceive items of cultural heritage? This and other questions will be answered by representative all-Russia survey, conducted by our company in April 2015.

In most of the time, thinking of “culture”, Russians mean some area of art: literature, theater, museums, academic and scientific establishments. Some other say this word rather means civilization, national culture, universe of national customs and traditions. Amongst the interviewed we can also find those who mean upbringing and good manners by this polysemantic term.

In one of our earlier press-releases we used to consider accessibility and appeal of different forms of cultural leisure activity for our people. Today we are focusing on Russians’ perception of physical objects, which are culturally valuable: heritage assets, listed buildings and items of museum displays.


Overwhelming majority of Russians highly value heritage of material culture – listed buildings and museum pieces. Nearly two thirds of our citizens (59%) have described these as «very valuable» while additional third (37%) as «rather valuable». Just insignificant minority does not consider preserving cultural assets important.


We should note that focus on material culture objects and samples of architecture is rather declarative. Absolute majority of our people is saying of accessibility of cultural objects for them. About the same percentage of people communicates on their interest towards these. Furthermore 60% have never over the year attended these sites, although samples of architecture can be found and available in every entity of the Russian Federation.

 Attending the listed buildings is to greater extent of interest to urban dwellers, especially in megacities. The percentage of positive responses to this question in these is greater than that for same answers in rural respondents with by 12% and 17% accordingly. We also need to note that attending samples of architecture (often located at proximate territories) is for megacity residents by 10 % more accessible compared to rural residents and residents of towns (though there are plenty of small towns with rich historical and cultural heritage in the European portion of Russia).  Besides attending such samples of architecture is more accessible (by 10 %) to young people as these show greater mobility. Accordingly the specified categories of people (residents of megacities and large cities as well as people under 65 of age) attend such sites by 10% and 15 % more often.

 Apart from the samples of architecture, pieces, displayed in museums and galleries are also considered to be physical objects of cultural heritage. Visiting museums is of interest to 75% of respondents. In comparison with attending samples of architecture, elderly people are interested in visiting museums by 10 % more often than the young, and by 5% more often than middle age people.  Urban dwellers are interested in this kind of leisure by 10% more often than in rural. Looking at education as criteria, Russians with high education diplomas appear by 8% more interested in this than our citizens with secondary education.

 Various strata have different access to museums and galleries. Thus, the young by 8% more often than older age people, (and urban dwellers by 6% more often than rural residents) perceive visiting museum as accessible kind of their leisure activity. The given evaluations can be easily explained by the existing benefits for students in museum attendance and lack of transportation (provided that current commuter services have been recently reduced) to reach cultural sites for rural residents.

 It’s indicative, that considerable distinction of a share of people, having not attended a museum at least once over the past year, can be conditioned exactly by transportation issues. In cities, percentage of respondents who say they never attend museums, is by 10 % smaller compared to the relevant figures for rural settlements. In urban dwellers, despite the declared interest, we cannot see strong difference in visiting fairs and exhibitions neither across age, nor gender and nor education criteria. 


This study was being conducted in April 2015 based on all-Russia random route sample (18+) by means of face-to-face interviews in place of residence. Altogether 1500 respondents in 8 federal districts, 150 settlements, 200 sample points have been surveyed. The sample error makes up ± 2,5%, C.I. is 95%.  



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