For now, Russia backs Putin and the invasion – but younger people are sceptical of the Kremlin line

  • 18 March, 2022
  • Politics
  • Polling

Two weeks ago I published survey in Ukraine that showed the determination of its population to defend their country and their view that Britain was doing more than most allies to help.

My latest poll, conducted by telephone in Russia from a neighbouring state, comes with two obvious caveats. The first is that the Putin regime effectively controls what Russians see and hear about the “special military operation” in Ukraine – and this is on top of two decades of Kremlin propaganda for the president and his works. The second is that with protests crushed and prison terms for anyone accused of spreading of “fake news” about the war, many might be cautious in talking about their views to a stranger. We also know, however, that a crisis can often prompt a surge of national loyalty.

With those health warnings, the survey suggests that Putin has managed to shape Russian opinion strongly in his favour – at least for the time being. Here are the main findings.

Most Russians back the invasion of Ukraine – but they don’t claim all of it

76% said they support the “special military operation” in Ukraine, with more than half (57%) saying they do so strongly.Just under a quarter withheld support – 18% saying they opposed the invasion, and a further 6% saying they didn’t know. More than 8 in 10 said they believed Russia would emerge from the conflict stronger than before.

However, a majority – 53% – said they thought Ukraine seemed to be resisting Russian forces more strongly than they would have expected.

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