Disinfo: Bloomberg fakes Putin’s approval numbers


The US news agency Bloomberg has reported, citing figures by the Russian state pollster VTsIOM, that Putin’s rating dropped to a record low of 27 percent in April as the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on the national economy.

The Russian Foreign Ministry slammed the report, showing that the real figures provided by VTsIOM (67-8%), which Bloomberg claimed to cite, were altered in the report.

“The editors of Bloomberg continue to show complete disrespect for its readers. They probably hope that their audience will not check Russian sources and find a real WCIOM data”, the Russian Embassy in the United States said on Twitter.


The story advances a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative which casts Western media as biased against Russia. Under this narrative, outlets such as Bloomberg will not hesitate to report bogus statistics for the sake of impressing their Russophobic prejudices on unsuspecting readers.

VTsIOM's statistics on public trust in politicians are based on two different survey questions, which in turn produce two different percentages.

The first question is closed-ended: "Do you trust or not trust... [name of public official]"? Based on this, Putin's approval rating stands at 67.9% as of 17 May 2020. The second question is open-ended and allows multiple answers: "When it comes to politicians, whom do you trust, and whom would you not entrust with solving important state issues?" In this case, Putin's approval comes to 27% as of April 2020.

The Bloomberg article correctly cites the second figure (27%) and correctly bills it as an "historic low," given that Putin's approval is now at its lowest since 2006. Meanwhile, the Russian Embassy in the US countered Bloomberg's reporting by citing the first figure (~67%), implying that this is the only relevant statistic produced by VTsIOM.


  • Reported in: Issue 198
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 24/05/2020
  • Language/target audience: English, French
  • Country: Russia
  • Keywords: fake statistics, fake news, Mainstream media, Vladimir Putin


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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