Privacy Versus Security in Trying Times: Evidence from Russian Public Opinion

33 Pages Posted: 6 Dec 2021

See all articles by Kirill Chmel

Kirill Chmel

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Israel Marques

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Mikhail Mironyuk

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Dina Rosenberg

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Aleksei Turobov

National Research University Higher School of Economics

Date Written: December 1, 2021

Abstract

When are citizens willing to give up civil rights to enable governments to deal with large-scale emergencies in non-democracies? Emergency responses are one of the most fundamental public services governments provide. Digital transformations in government services both create new possibilities for effective emergency measures and greater intrusions on civil liberties. Existing work on public support for emergency responses suggests that individuals accept intrusive measures when they are credibly framed as temporary responses to actual emergencies. Such work has largely focused on democracies, however, where institutions constrain government abuses. On the one hand, individuals in non-democracies may be more skeptical of emergency measures due to lack of competition and opportunities for redress. Institutional trust should therefore play an important role in such settings. On the other hand, skepticism may be tempered by exposure to and fear of emergencies being addressed. We test these arguments using an original vignette experiment that manipulates the type of emergency intrusive measures address (terrorism vs. an epidemic) and their duration to support for them. We embed this experiment on a survey of more than 16,250 respondents across 60 Russian regions. Our findings provide important insights into the logic of responses to public safety threats and public opinion about them in non-democracies.

Keywords: Civil Liberties, Government Surveillance, Emergency Measures and Powers, Terrorism, COVID, Institutional Trust, Russia

JEL Classification: D8, D78, I18, H12, P0

Suggested Citation

Chmel, Kirill and Marques, Israel and Mironyuk, Mikhail and Rosenberg, Dina and Turobov, Aleksei, Privacy Versus Security in Trying Times: Evidence from Russian Public Opinion (December 1, 2021). Higher School of Economics Research Paper No. WP BRP 82/PS/2021, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3975380 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3975380

Kirill Chmel (Contact Author)

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Israel Marques

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Mikhail Mironyuk

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Dina Rosenberg

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

Aleksei Turobov

National Research University Higher School of Economics ( email )

Myasnitskaya street, 20
Moscow, Moscow 119017
Russia

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