Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a propaganda concert dedicated to the 8th anniversary of the occupation of Crimea and current war against Ukraine at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. 18 March 2022. Credit:

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks at a propaganda concert dedicated to the 8th anniversary of the occupation of Crimea and current war against Ukraine at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow. 18 March 2022.

Russian Aggression

Nearly three-quarters of Russians support the war against Ukraine. In particular, 71% of Russians feel pride, joy, respect, and hope in connection with the war and support it, RFE/RL reports referring to two surveys conducted by independent Russian sociologists, one at the end of February and the other one in the middle of March 2022. This support appears to have grown since the start of Russia’s war.

Views varied depending on age, the study’s authors note. Russians aged above 35 are more inclined to express feelings of pride, respect, and hope, while those under 18 are more prone to resentment and frustration. Overall, two out of five Russians expressed concern about the war, and these feelings were most often reported by young Russians. Russians in the middle age groups (25 to 44) were more likely to report feelings of anxiety and fear about the military operation. More than half of respondents over the age of 55 support the war with Ukraine.

The differences between the first and second polls show an increase in the number of people supporting the “military operation” and the independence of Russia’s puppet “republics” in Donbas. At the same time, there is growing pessimism about respondents’ personal financial situation in connection with the sanctions imposed on Western countries against Russia.

According to the survey’s results, ¾ of Russia’s population use television as the main source of news. Of these, 87% (and 64% of all Russians) receive news from state TV channels. 22% of Russians listen to the radio for news, and only 1% of respondents have access to information on shortwave. The use of VPN for news of the “military operation,” according to the authors of the study, is 5.5%. Of those who use the Internet to learn about the war, 37% do not know what a VPN is. 11% of respondents use YouTube, and 7% use the Telegram messenger.

According to sociologists, young Russians under 35 are more likely to “partially or wholly” distrust news about Ukraine compared to the older generation. At the same time, the authors of the study note that young Russians in the age group 18 to 24 were more likely to express indifference to what is happening in Ukraine.

When asked how they are affected by the actions of the Russian president, a third of respondents said they firmly believe that Putin is working in their interests, and another 26% say he is working in their interests to some extent. In general, most Russians believe that it would be better if Putin remained president for as long as possible. This opinion is most common among television audiences. Russians who rely on personal connections and digital platforms perceive the president differently, according to a study by independent Russian sociologists.

An earlier survey conducted by the independent research group Russian Field together with Russian political activist Maxim Katz at the end of February showed that 59% of Russians supported the war against Ukraine. A street report conducted by Current Time showed that most Russians on the streets of the cities of Perm and Vladivostok supported Putin’s war after being shown photos of civilian destruction in Ukraine.

What Russians think about Russia’s war in Ukraine: video

Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine started on 24 February. In its course, Russian troops have shelled and dropped bombs on civilian objects, targeted residential areas, schools, and medical facilities. Every fourth Ukrainian is now displaced, while Russian troops have suffered significant casualties. Russia’s aggression has caused an international backlash, as western countries enacted financial restrictions making Russia currently the most-sanctioned country in the world.


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