Rare statistics from Russia: Together with our colleagues at pollytix strategic research, we conducted an online survey of 1,500 Russians on the war in Ukraine and their perceptions of all the parties involved in the conflict.
In general, the Russian population has a high level of trust in its leadership (Putin) at 71% and an even higher level of trust in its military at 81%. Unsurprisingly, the USA is primarily blamed for the escalation of the conflict – not Ukraine, NATO or Russia itself. Only one in four is against Russian intervention and one in six thinks Western sanctions are justified. 80% also think that the West should recognise Crimea as part of Russia.
In general, men are more likely than women to express a clear opinion on these matters. And older people in particular follow the line taken by their country. The key results by category are as follows:
Among Russians, Russia and Belarus lead the popularity ranking at 83% each. 50% have a low opinion of their 'brother nation' of Ukraine, with just under 30% having a positive opinion of the country. France and Germany are still rated positively by half of Russians, while the USA is in last place with 26% holding a positive opinion.
After the military, President Putin has the highest rating, which is bolstered by women and older people. Just 51% of all respondents trust Russian media and their own parliament (the Duma).
Despite strict press censorship, more than three quarters of respondents have seen or heard media reports on the military intervention over the last few days.
Russians seem to make a strict distinction between NATO and the USA, with 46% blaming the USA and just 11% blaming the defence alliance. Very few people think Ukraine or Russia is responsible for the conflict.
It is primarily older people and men who approve of Russian aggression. Women are significantly more hesitant, but are still clearly in favour of it. It is only among those aged 18 to 39 that the proportion in favour of military intervention is roughly equal to the proportion against it (37% for, 36% against).
Just 16% think Western sanctions are justified. And 55% believe that the measures will impact Russia as a country. However, a small majority thinks they will not be impacted personally by the restrictions.
80% want Crimea to be recognised as part of Russia by the international community. And they also think that Donetsk and Luhansk should remain under Russian administration – with just 21% in favour of administration by Ukraine. Clear majorities are also in favour of demilitarising and "denazifying" Ukraine. Surprisingly, however, opinions are evenly balanced on whether Ukraine should be free to join the EU in the future.
From 3 to 9 March 2022, we worked with pollytix strategic research to conduct a representative online survey of 1,500 people in Russia. The entire study, the press release, the graphs and the moweb logo are available to download below.