In this paper, we investigatethe divergence in Russian public opinion between the masses and elites in terms of attitudes toward foreign countries in the post-Crimea era. To do so, we combine elite surveys conducted in Russia from 2000 to 2016 with an extensive database of Levada Center mass public opinion polling to test two competing models for explaining the observed divergence in mass and elite opinion: a demographic-driven Common Determinants model and a novel Kremlin Cueing model. More specifically, we assess the extent to which a set of demographic variables trained on a model of mass attitudes is able to predict elite attitudes. Our empirical evidence is more consistent with the predictions of the Kremlin Cueing model, indicating that, in some cases, elite opinion reacts very differently to shocks such as the Crimea crisis due to “where they sit” rather than who they are as individuals.
- public opinion
- survey research
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Economics and Econometrics
- Political Science and International Relations