July 04, 2023

Scared and Suspicious


Scared and Suspicious
Moscow, 2010. Marc Veraart, Flickr

Russian Field, a group of independent sociologists, conducted a survey on Russians' attitudes to the War in Ukraine. The survey polled 1604 persons from across Russia by phone between June 16 and 19 (before the Prigozhin Mutiny).

The findings indicate a relatively high level of loyalty toward the government and policies of President Vladimir Putin. Specifically, 64 percent of respondents support Putin's decision to launch a new offensive on Kyiv. However, researchers note that such loyalty may be influenced by a climate of repression, and it is possible that the number of negatively inclined respondents who choose not to participate in surveys is higher than the reported figures.

Despite the general loyalty observed, it cannot be concluded that Russians fully trust the authorities, as approximately 45 percent of respondents said they believe that official information about the war in Ukraine should not be trusted.

The desire to end the war is also reflected in respondents' preferences regarding the continuation of the conflict or the initiation of peace negotiations. The survey found that citizens are almost evenly split, with 45 percent in favor of continuing the war and 44 percent supporting peace negotiations. Notably, Russians between the ages of 18 and 29 displayed the strongest inclination toward peace, with over 60 percent in this age group favoring negotiations.

When the question was posed with the clarification that a second wave of mobilization would be required to continue the war, the "negotiation party" became a majority (54 percent), while the "war party" became a clear minority (35 percent). This preference for transitioning to negotiations prevailed across all age groups.

The growing "peace party" in Russia is being fueled by mounting concerns over mobilization. These anxieties are perhaps exacerbated by reports from the front. Despite certain regional authorities banning the publication of obituaries for fallen soldiers, independent journalists are persistently tallying casualties using publicly available data, revealing over 26,801 deaths (at press time) among those mobilized. Furthermore, grievances from the front continue to surface, with some soldiers reporting shortages of essential resources such as water, while others express concerns about being deployed into combat without adequate weaponry.

 

 

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