Survey shows more than a third of Russians help others for free

Higher School of Economics Research: more than a third of Russians help others for free


Experts from the HSE asked Russians to what extent they actively participated in voluntary activity.

According to official statistics, hundreds of thousands of volunteers take part in social movements such as Volontery Pobedy and Volontery-mediki, to protect historical and cultural monuments, take part in ecological and social activities, help in the organisation and carrying out of large events, conduct patriotic events, look for missing people and provide help in emergency situations and assist strangers in need in everyday life.


According to data from the monitoring of the state of civil society by the HSE, 35% of adults said that they voluntarily took part in some form of socially useful act within the last year (not including helping family members or close relatives). 31% of them did this via an organisation, 69% did it independently.

However, experts believe that calculating the number of volunteers in Russia is problematic. People are involved in organised voluntary activity as much as informal activity. 31% of those surveyed said that they don’t know whether there are volunteers in their town. 34% of those surveyed claimed they know about volunteers in their city, town or village from the local press, radio and TV. 23% personally know volunteers, 15% of respondents have heard about volunteers from friends. Every ninth respondent reported that they independently volunteer.

At the same time, amongst the 35% of Russians who carry out work which can be described as voluntary, only 16% often or regularly discuss the topic of volunteering with other people, whilst 54% do it sometimes and 29% never. In this same group of respondents, only 20% consider themselves to be volunteers.

According to the results of the study, experts came to the conclusion that in Russia it is necessary to bridge the gap between those who only statistically make up the group of volunteers and those who have a volunteer identity and really can become the core of the volunteer movement in Russia.

The HSE Centre for Studies of Civil Society and the Non-profit Sector surveyed 2012 respondents from 29 October to 14 November 2018. The survey’s sample represented the adult population of the Russian Federation (older than 18) in terms of gender, age, level of education, as well as the type of settlement in which the respondent lives. Residents came from all federal districts of Russia, from 80 regions, cities and towns of the country. The survey was conducted by telephone.


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