Will the mix of Russians' apathy and support keep Putin's war in Ukraine going?
    Experts weigh in on such a scenario

    INTERVIEWS  13 September 2023 - 15:04

    Samir Ibrahimov

    The "War Party" in Russian society is slowly but steadily shrinking as the fighting drags on and the number of casualties multiplies, The Moscow Times believes.

    The percentage of citizens who "definitely" support the army's actions in Ukraine in August 2023 has fallen to its lowest level (38%) since the invasion, a poll by the Levada Centre showed. In February 2022, 48% of respondents answered "definitely yes" to the question about support for the army, while in March of the same year, the figure rose to 52%. Since then, the share of citizens who unconditionally support the Armed Forces has decreased by 14%.

    The highest level of support for the actions of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine is characteristic of the oldest age group (55 years and older), where almost half of respondents (47%) "definitely support", Levada sociologists note. Young people are the least approving of the army's actions: in the 18-24 age group, only 28% expressed unconditional support for the military.

    The fiasco of the victorious blitzkrieg scenario, the first mobilisation since the 1940s and the threat of its repetition are increasingly frustrating Russian society, according to the survey. Thus, the share of those who "found it difficult to answer" the questions about support for the army and the need to continue the war rose to a record high: 10% and 12% respectively.

    According to Levada's data, only 24% were definitely in favour of continuing hostilities in August, which was the lowest value since the mobilisation panic of last autumn. Compared to May 2023, the share of radical supporters of war has dropped by 6%.

    A further 14% of respondents are "rather in favour" of continuing the war, while 50% are in favour of peace talks: 27% are "definitely" support it and 23% are "rather in favour".

    Among those in favour of continuing military operations, every third person (32%) explains his or her opinion by the fact that "it is necessary to keep going, one cannot stop halfway", 16% - by the fact that "fascism must be destroyed, not all nationalists have been killed yet".

    Among supporters of peace talks, half of the respondents (52%) back their position by the huge number of victims, while 40% say they feel "exhausted from the war". Problems in the economy are cited by 6% as a reason, and the lack of military successes - by 5%.

    On the whole, the outlook is rather optimistic - it turns out that the popularity of aggression among Russians is on the decline, and quite noticeably so. Does this seem to be a significant factor that can influence the timing of the ongoing war? Or even if the majority is against it, will the Kremlin not change its plans?

    Well-known foreign experts shared their thoughts on this with Caliber.Az.

    "It is clear that Putin will not make decisions based on Levada-Centre data," said Yevgeny Savostyanov, a Russian politician, former deputy head of the Presidential Administration and retired FSB major-general. - Before elections, popular opinion can influence issues such as the decision to mobilise.

    But Putin has not changed and is unlikely to change his decision to destroy Ukraine as a state and as an independent culture".

    Olga Kurnosova, a political analyst and editor-in-chief of the After Empire portal, noted in turn that, paradoxically, dictatorship is very much in need of public support.

    "Another question is whether Putin is aware of this dynamic. Or are they afraid to tell him the poll results? This was roughly the case in the last years before the fall of the communist regime in the USSR. Analytical reports were changed beyond recognition as they travelled upwards to their bosses. I think something similar is happening now. Putin is still the main driving force of the war. And the main question everyone is asking themselves is how to get rid of him," the expert says.

    As political analyst and Deutsche Welle columnist Konstantin Eggert (Vilnius) pointed out, he would not pin much hope or importance on this kind of poll.

    "Just a month or so ago, the same Levada Centre published a poll according to which 60% of the Russian population simply does not follow the events in Ukraine and the fighting. Very often people say what they think the authorities want them to say.

    I think the combination of indifference and support (70% saying support one way or another, that's a lot) will allow the Russian authorities to continue fighting for now. Putin's goal is obviously to wear down Ukraine and wait until probably the end of next year, the US presidential election, when he hopes isolationist forces will come to power and stop supporting Ukraine themselves. And then he can hope for some kind of diplomatic negotiations to get out of the sanctions regime, etc.

    I do not believe that in the near future, there can be such a change in Russian society that will jeopardise the current Kremlin policy. In principle it is possible, but even if we believe the dynamics that we see in these polls, these are not very fundamental changes, in my opinion. Russian society is still indifferent and only very dramatic events within the Russian Federation itself or heavy military defeats, which are out of the question for now, can change these sentiments," Eggert believes.


    Subscribe to our Telegram channel

Read also

"I wouldn't put much faith in Yerevan's claims on peace" Ukrainian expert tells Caliber.Az

30 November 2023 - 17:54

"Armenia's inept behaviour will lead to its disappearance from political world map" Caliber.Az talks to Polish expert Yakub Koreyba

30 November 2023 - 12:57

Experts reflect on US-Azerbaijan aggravation: when and how will that end? Pritchin and Neizhmakov on Caliber.Az

29 November 2023 - 12:07

Armenian-Russian relations are "stuck" in Upper Lars Pundits comment on situation on Georgian border

29 November 2023 - 13:10

Russian expert: NATO military may be deployed in Armenia under the guise of observers Caliber.Az talks to Dmitry Solonnikov

28 November 2023 - 17:30

Cooperation on both sides of the Caspian Sea Energy, logistics, investments

27 November 2023 - 16:58
Latest news

    Who are Palestinians in Israel's prisons?

    01 December 2023 - 00:12

    Axis, Allies in the Eurasian rimland reminiscent of 1930s

    30 November 2023 - 23:12

    Israel slams Red Cross for approach in Gaza amid released hostage's poor condition

    30 November 2023 - 21:56

    Kazakhstan denies news on plans to purchase Rafale fighter jets

    30 November 2023 - 21:19

    Azerbaijani Speaker Sahiba Gafarova arrives in Germany


    30 November 2023 - 21:09

    Milli Majlis committee condemns anti-Azerbaijani reports of European Parliament

    30 November 2023 - 20:49

    Azerbaijani, UAE leaders hail development of bilateral relations

    30 November 2023 - 20:36

    Verkhovna Rada cancels Ukrainian presidential election

    30 November 2023 - 20:25

    Turkish Air Force aircraft to patrol Romania's skies

    30 November 2023 - 20:14

    United Nations calls 2023 hottest year ever

    30 November 2023 - 20:03

    Finland terminates agreement on cross-border cooperation with Russia

    30 November 2023 - 19:52

    France opens door to EU talks on Israeli settler sanctions

    30 November 2023 - 19:41

    Israel summons Spanish ambassador over Gaza war comments

    30 November 2023 - 19:30

    EU's defence strategy needs to include Ukraine, von der Leyen says

    30 November 2023 - 19:22

    Moldova insists on withdrawal of Russian troops from Transnistria

    30 November 2023 - 19:15

    Turkish Finance Minister keen to reduce national inflation


    30 November 2023 - 19:03

    ANAMA reveals number of landmines defused in liberated territories

    30 November 2023 - 18:56

    Polish government wants permits for Ukrainian carriers to be restored

    30 November 2023 - 18:49

    United Nations Climate Change Conference COP28 kicks off in UAE

    Azerbaijani delegation attending the event

    30 November 2023 - 18:45

    Spanish Foreign Minister: Europe at its most critical moment

    30 November 2023 - 18:41

    Russia's Lavrov says ready to promote Baku-Yerevan peace treaty

    30 November 2023 - 18:33

    Hamas source says 10 Israeli hostages to be freed soon

    30 November 2023 - 18:21

    NATO special rep: Azerbaijan contributes to peace and security in the region and beyond

    30 November 2023 - 18:10

    Azerbaijan to launch admission to Karabakh University from 2024

    30 November 2023 - 18:09

    Azerbaijani, Swiss foreign ministers discuss cooperation

    30 November 2023 - 18:05

    Jeyhun Bayramov: Armenia's smear campaign detrimental to peace


    30 November 2023 - 18:01

    Turkish intelligence takes out PKK terrorist plotting attack on military base

    30 November 2023 - 18:01

    Year-end last-ditch Azerbaijani-Armenian peace deal: How likely?

    Contemplations with Orkhan Amashov/VIDEO

    30 November 2023 - 18:00

    "I wouldn't put much faith in Yerevan's claims on peace"

    Ukrainian expert tells Caliber.Az

    30 November 2023 - 17:54

    Kremlin comments on Armenia-UK military cooperation

    30 November 2023 - 17:47

    OPEC+ mulls new oil production cuts amid Middle East conflict

    30 November 2023 - 17:47

    Azerbaijani, Hungarian top diplomats discuss cooperation

    30 November 2023 - 17:40

    Expansion of consumer lending in Azerbaijan

    Caliber.Az explores the pros and cons

    30 November 2023 - 17:40

    Azerbaijan postpones trial of Armenian saboteur detained in Kalbajar

    30 November 2023 - 17:33

    Armenian, Russian FMs hold talks in Skopje

    30 November 2023 - 17:26

    Iran, Saudi Arabia discuss promotion of military ties

    30 November 2023 - 17:19

    Ukrainian President Zelenskyy visits Kupiansk front

    30 November 2023 - 17:12

    Latvian Prosecutor General’s Office looks into aircraft rent for former PM’s needs

    30 November 2023 - 17:05

    Politico declares Türkiye's Erdogan "one of Europe's most powerful people"

    30 November 2023 - 16:58

    German foreign minister: Russia trying to harm OSCE

    30 November 2023 - 16:51

All news