Key Findings in Trust ResearchBy
Key findings of original research made available on the resources page of this site this week sheds light on some key findings about trust levels and discrepancies between these levels for the person on the street and the person in a Baptist church in Moscow, Russia. This research dealt with five key areas: 1) business; 2) government; 3) non-profit organizations (NGOs); 4) religion; and 5) media. Some of these findings include:
on business – “Moscow Baptists are significantly less trustful of business in general than are their secular counterparts, especially foreign companies (by an astounding 29%).” As a result, one analyst concluded that, the cultures of the Muscovite man on the street versus the person in a Protestant church, “do not have much overlap.” The analyst continues to state, and the church “just [doesn’t] get it” and, as a result, church-goers “appear, in the eyes of the lost, to have very little that is relevant to offer.”
on government – “Baptists seem wary of outside influence, showing less trust for the UN than the average Russian.”
on non-profit organizations – Russians have more trust in business than in non-profit organizations that are politically funded–whether the funding came from within or outside of Russia.
on non-profit organizations – “While in all other categories Baptists are distrustful of foreigners, they have scored foreign NGOs with the highest marks of the entire survey. Being believers, Baptists likely have less of a problem understanding an organization seeking to do something good for humanity without alterior motives…. Potentially, this could be an area where the Baptists could demonstrate their trustworthiness to the secular population. They could show a real sense of relevance and true community involvement by participating strongly and intentionally in this area.”
on religion – The man on the street in Moscow does not distinguish between Mormon or Baptists as he or she equally distrusts both (some 3%). They do have a 5-fold higher trust of Muslims. Yet the official religion, Orthodoxy, is viewed as being 20 times more trustworthy than religion under the names of Baptist or Mormon. For a religion that is practiced by some 2% of the population to be quantified as 20 times more trustworthy than another religion gives insight into the dearth of trust in general and in religion specifically by the average person in Moscow.
on media – Both the person on the street and the person in the trust distrust most forms of media. The man on the street prefers Russian magazines and international news while the person in the church prefers Russian newspapers and radio.
conclusions – “It’s clear that to garner the trust of Russians, the motives for your actions must be up-front and obvious. It seems that even self-serving or immoral motives are better than hidden ones. The particular history of the Russian people has apparently made them highly suspicious and careful in what they place their trust. They no longer want to have things controlled for them, and want to make up their own minds and form their own opinions.”
conclusions – “It’s pretty clear that Russian Baptists have a culture in their faith and in their churches that dramatically sets them apart from secular Russians on many levels. They are less open to new trends, less involved in change, more disposed to trust the government (at least locally), and less accepting of outside influences. While this traditional approach has its virtues, it will continue to alienate them from their neighbors as time goes on, and make them increasingly irrelevant in their communities. They must look for points of commonality to avoid this fate at all costs. Relevance often breeds trust, and without it, they will continue to score 3% among Russians in general. If 97% of the population finds you unworthy of their faith, then it’s time to take a hard look at changing something. Moscow will never be won by people who are disconnected from its society.”