COVID-19 Information Manipulation and Political Support in Russia

Last registered on December 24, 2021


Trial Information

General Information

COVID-19 Information Manipulation and Political Support in Russia
Initial registration date
December 21, 2021

Initial registration date is when the trial was registered.

It corresponds to when the registration was submitted to the Registry to be reviewed for publication.

First published
December 24, 2021, 5:01 PM EST

First published corresponds to when the trial was first made public on the Registry after being reviewed.



Primary Investigator

George Washington University

Other Primary Investigator(s)

Additional Trial Information

On going
Start date
End date
Secondary IDs
Prior work
This trial does not extend or rely on any prior RCTs.
This study consists of a randomized controlled trial that explores the political impact of the manipulation of COVID-19 statistics in Russia.
External Link(s)

Registration Citation

Hale, Henry. 2021. "COVID-19 Information Manipulation and Political Support in Russia." AEA RCT Registry. December 24.
Experimental Details


This is a large-scale, seven-arm experiment. Treatments include a general reminder of the challenge posed by COVID-19 for Russia’s authorities and, variously, different estimates of COVID-19 cases and deaths produced by official Russian coronavirus statistics and calculations based on excess mortality that indicate a far higher toll, both separately and in combination, and with an explicit reference to some medical experts’ beliefs that this difference reflects intentional government manipulation. Respondents in the treatment groups are asked how carefully they are following such topics.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date

Primary Outcomes

Primary Outcomes (end points)
The main outcome variables are 11-point scales measuring trust in leading political authorities.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
The primary outcomes of interest are the differences in average responses between the control group and the treatment groups, and between certain treatment groups, in the support for Putin specifically.

Secondary Outcomes

Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)

Experimental Design

Experimental Design
The RCT is embedded wave 2 of the 2021 Russian Election Studies (RES) survey series, conducted by the survey agency Levada-Center. Respondents are selected through a multistage area probability method designed to produce a nationally representative sample of the Russian population, and are interviewed face-to-face. The first wave of the RES was conducted just prior to Russia’s September 2021 parliamentary election, and many of these are being reinterviewed as part of wave 2. Wave 2 will also include a “refresh” sample who are being interviewed for the first time (that is, they were not interviewed in wave 1).
Experimental Design Details
Randomization Method
Randomization in the assignment of respondents to control and treatment groups is achieved through the randomization function in Levada-Center’s survey software.
Randomization Unit
Was the treatment clustered?

Experiment Characteristics

Sample size: planned number of clusters
Sample size: planned number of observations
2700 adult residents of Russia (1200 from the refresh sample, 1500 from the panel)
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Approximately 385 in each arm of the experiment
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)

Institutional Review Boards (IRBs)

IRB Name
Institutional Review Board, Department of University Safety & Assurances, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number
Analysis Plan

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Post Trial Information

Study Withdrawal

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Is the intervention completed?
Data Collection Complete
Data Publication

Data Publication

Is public data available?

Program Files

Program Files
Reports, Papers & Other Materials

Relevant Paper(s)

Reports & Other Materials