Russians are significantly more likely to spend their free time watching television than reading books, according to a survey by the independent Levada Center pollster.

The number of Russians who name television as a source of their happiness has increased in recent years. While television remains the biggest news source for Russians, it has become less trusted over the past decade, past Levada polling has said

Four out of five Russians (79 percent) watch movies and TV series at least once a week, Levada’s survey published on Monday said

Only 28 percent of Russian respondents said they read literary fiction at least once a week. Fifty-five percent said they never read or only pick up a book a few times a year.

Russians are also spending less of their free time on cultural activities like visiting museums, theaters and concerts, the pollster added. Its survey said that more than half of Russian respondents (55 percent) had never been to a museum or theater and almost two-thirds (64 percent) had never attended their favorite performer’s concert.

Between 1994 and 2019, Levada said the share of Russians who said they read daily or weekly had dropped by about half (from 23 percent and 14 percent and from 26 percent to 14 percent, respectively). The same trend was seen in the 18-29 age group, the pollster said. 

Levada conducted the survey among 1,616 respondents in 50 Russian regions on May 24-29.