Democracy or “people’s power” is carried out through numerous forms of interaction between various communities, public associations of citizens with state authorities and local self-government bodies. Due to the attention to the development of democratic foundations, foreign and Russian scientists are increasingly interested in the civil society and civil participation. The stated issues has been covered in research by L. Yakobson, I.V. Mersiyanova, I.E. Korneeva, E. Huber, D. Rueschemeyer and J.D. Stephens, K. Bayme, etc. The purpose for the article is to consider the use of statistical and sociological methods of civil participation as an integral part of the democratic system of the Russian society in comparison with international studies.
Based on data from domestic and foreign empirical measurements it has been revealed that in modern Russian society the citizens’ positive attitude to the functioning of democracy is combined with a high degree of criticism and distrust of most of its institutions.
Public organizations and associations are the most distrusted in Russia in comparison with other countries: the level of trust is almost two times lower than the average inter-country value, while Russia ranks last by the presented indicator among 28 countries. According to official statistics, the number of public associations and non-profit organizations in the country as a whole has been declining in recent years. At the same time, the public space of civil participation is being restructured. Analysis of the regional level indicates that the Vologda Oblast is a typical region and does not significantly stand out by the number of public associations and non-profit organizations per 1000 citizens. It is concluded that in the Russian society there are serious barriers to effective implementation of formal participation practices due to attitudes towards public associations and organizations, as well as low awareness of their activities. In democratic countries, along with institutional (formal) ones, informal practices of civic participation are also developing. Different views on the role and place of informal participation demonstrates the debatable nature of these issues, which requires further in-depth analysis
trust, civic participation, democracy, institutional participation practices, informal civic participation