Assessing Russia’s Influence in Its Periphery; Is Russia Really Winning an Information War?

Russia Putin


With events in Ukraine looming large, and a flood of information coming in from media funded by the Russian Federation, residents in the Baltics and Moldova face a challenge regarding decisions about where to get their news. Both the elites and the general public can hear very different stories by tuning in to Russian-language or Western media.

The prevalence of Russian-language media in these countries is not surprising given the large number of Russian-speakers there. But who is using which media sources in Russian? And more important, how does it affect the way they perceive the world?

On February 4, 2016, the Broadcasting Board of Governors and Gallup presented the latest media consumption and attitudinal findings from Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Moldova. Information on the use of Russian media in these countries, the perceived credibility, importance and trustworthiness of this media, and what connection there is between the use of Russian media and support for Russia and its policies will be presented. Gallup 2014 World Poll data from 12 Former Soviet Union countries was also presented and will look at the attitude toward the conflict between Ukraine and the Russian Federation and the role media likely played in forming people’s opinions. A question and answer period will follow.

Speakers included:

  • John Lansing, CEO and Director, Broadcasting Board of Governors
  • Brigadier General (Ret.) Kevin Ryan, Director, Defense and Intelligence Projects, Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs
  • Neli Esipova, Director of Research, Global Migration and Regional Director, Gallup
  • Paul Tibbitts, Director, Market Insight and Evaluation, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty

Thursday, February 4, 2016 from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM (EST)

Gallup World Headquarters –

901 F Street, NW. (Entrance on 9th Street).

Washington, DC 20004

Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Russian speakers in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania rank Kremlin-backed media as the least trustworthy among international, Russian Federation and domestic news sources, according to research presented by the Broadcasting Board of Governors yesterday.

In addition, only those survey respondents who considered Russian-backed media to be credible showed a majority support for President Vladimir Putin’s domestic and international policies.  In the three Baltic nations and Moldova, consuming Russian-backed media did not correlate with support for Russia’s policies.

The BBG data found that domestic media ranked first in trustworthiness in Estonia (80 percent) and Latvia (79 percent).  International media took first in Lithuania (74 percent) and in Moldova there was a statistical tie between international media (45 percent), Russian-backed media (42 percent) and domestic media (42 percent).

The findings were unveiled at Thursday’s research briefing conducted by the BBG and Gallup on the consumption and influence of Russian-language media in Russia’s periphery. Read more…



For more information

A central part of the BBG’s statutory mandate is to support freedom and democracy in a rapidly changing international environment. The ability of the media to report freely and accurately is critical in world affairs. Additionally, it is important for leaders and policy makers to understand how different populations around the globe view the quality, honesty and accuracy of their media, as well as how free they perceive their media to be.

Please click on the country marker, or list below, to find reports, presentations and videos from other BBG Research Series events.

For more information, please call the BBG’s Office of Public Affairs at (202) 203-4400 or email



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