MOSCOW, July 25 (RIA Novosti) – The percentage of Russians who say it is acceptable to tell white lies has almost doubled since the fall of the Soviet Union, according to a poll on Russian morals released Thursday by the Levada Center.
Just 33 percent of those surveyed in 1992 said that they considered lying for a good cause to be acceptable, while 61 percent gave that answer when the same question was asked last month. The number of those who declined to give an opinion on the subject fell from 31 percent to 14 percent.
The Levada Center poll, entitled “The Moral Limitations of Russians,” asked ten different morality-related questions about issues ranging from personal relationships to paying taxes and stealing.
Attitudes to sex before marriage have also significantly changed, according to the poll. Just after the collapse of Communism 42 percent of Russians said sex before marriage was acceptable, but this rose to 58 percent in 2013.
One consistent change between 1992 and 2013 – shown in nine out of the ten questions posed – was a fall in the number of respondents choosing the “difficult to say” answer, perhaps suggesting a growing openness within Russian society about expressing opinions on moral questions.
Some attitudes, however, have remained broadly the same. In 1992, 47 percent of Russians said that they considered it “unacceptable” to have a lover as well as a wife or husband, and in the most recent poll the figure changed by a mere 3 percentage points, climbing to 50 percent.
The poll had a margin of error of 3.4 percent, according to Levada's website.