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Survey: What Do Russians Do For Fun? Posted by on Jul 15, 2019 in Culture, when in Russia

The Levada pollster recently published the results of a survey that asked what Russians liked doing in their free time. It turned out that more “highbrow” activities like reading fiction or going to the theatre are losing popularity, while watching TV shows has picked up.

The survey (опрос) included over 1,600 adults in 50 constituent regions of Russia (субъе́кты федера́ции). The question was worded as “Как ча́сто вы…” (“How often do you…”), followed by different activities.

old woman reading in front of the TV

Photo by Mariia Chalaya on Unsplash

Watching Films and Series

Watching movies and shows (смо́трите фи́льмы и сериа́лы) was the most popular pastime, with 53 percent saying “almost every day” (почти́ ка́ждый день) and an additional 26 percent saying “at least once a week” (не ре́же 1 ра́за в неде́лю).

Interestingly, for going to the cinema (хо́дите в кино́), the numbers were much lower: 5 percent for once a week, 20 percent for 1–2 times a week (один-два ра́за в ме́сяц), and a further 30 percent for several times a year at most (не́сколько раз в год и́ли ре́же), with 44 percent saying never (никогда́).


Another popular option was meeting up with friends in the courtyard/patio or in the street (встреча́етесь с друзья́ми во дворе́, на у́лице). Двор (literally, yard) is the space between Russian typical high-rise buildings that often has benches, playgrounds, and other public spaces. Sixty six percent said they met up with friends at least once a week, and another 16 percent a couple times a month.

Visiting family in their homes or hosting them in yours (принима́ете у себя́ или хо́дите в го́сти к ро́дственникам) is a weekly activity for 43 percent and a monthly one for 31 percent. The numbers were similar for visiting friends.

man reading a newspaper at a cafe

Photo by Mathilde Duton on Unsplash


Reading newspapers or magazines (чита́ете газе́ты и журна́лы) is a weekly pastime for 39 percent and a monthly one for 17 percent. Almost a third of all respondents (32 percent) said they never read periodicals. The pollster points out that the share of youth (молодёжь) aged 18–29 who never read papers or magazines has gone up from 4 to 46 percent between 2006 and 2019. However, the authors acknowledge that more young people may be follow news outlets online.

Only 28 percent said they read fiction (чита́ете худо́жественную литерату́ру) at least weekly, down from 49 percent in 1994, with 28 percent never reading it, up from 23 percent.

Eating Out

The frequency of going to restaurants, cafes, bars, or clubs (хо́дите в рестора́н, кафе́, ба́ры или клу́бы) was fairly low: 8 percent for weekly, 17 percent for monthly, 29 percent for several times a year at most, and almost half (47 percent) for never.

orchestra onstage

Photo by Manuel Nägeli on Unsplash

Arts and Culture

A whole 64 percent said they never went to see their favo[u]rite bands or performers (хо́дите на конце́рты люби́мых групп, исполни́телей), while 30 percent saw them several times a year at most. Going to the theat[er/re], a conservatory of music, or a museum (хо́дите в теа́тр, консервато́рию, в музе́и) was a bit more popular, with “only” 55 percent saying they never did that, and a further 34 percent doing it a few times a year.

The authors commented that living in a large city, having a higher education, and more disposable income correlated with visiting the cinema, concerts, theaters, and restaurants. Women were more likely to read fiction, watch series, and visit theaters and museums, while men were more likely to hang out with their friends.

How do the findings compare to your experiences with and expectations of Russians? What was the most surprising preference?

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About the Author: Maria

Maria is a Russian-born translator from Western New York. She is excited to share her fascination with all things Russian on this blog. Maria's professional updates are available in English on her website and Twitter and in Russian on Telegram.