Based on the data of national representative surveys carried out by RANEPA and IS RAS, article presents analysis of institutional trust and Russians' views on effectiveness of the institutions in difficult straits. It is shown that general level of institutional trust in society remains stable, but at the rather low level. Institutions that are characterized by most trust from the population are those that act as symbols of Russian statehood, but have little influence on Russians' actual life. Russians give quite low assessments of the institutional system's effectiveness in addressing the challenges they face in their daily lives - only 3% to 10% of the population are sure that they can count on support from various institutions in difficult straits. As a result, in difficult situations Russians rely primarily on personal relationships and help from their social circle. It is shown that low assessments of the effectiveness of institutions in difficult situations that Russians hold are based not only on the hypothetical judgments, but also on personal experience: although the vast majority of Russians do not even try to use institutional channels in case of difficulties, even among those who do it is not always effective. It is noted that the effectiveness of the use of social capital and social institutions in difficult situations by Russians is higher when the household also possess other types of resources, including economic resources.