BRIEF: Nearly 2/3 of Russians Worry About Ukrainian Counteroffensive
Hoaxlines Lab • April 27, 2023
As in previous months, young people, women, and respondents who do not support Putin's activities as president are more frequently in favor of transitioning to peace talks. On the other hand, representatives of the older generations, men, and supporters of the authorities tend to advocate for the continuation of hostilities.
Do you follow the situation around Ukraine?
The level of attention to events in Ukraine has remained constant since last month, with 24% following "very closely" and another 31% following "fairly closely". 45% of respondents don’t follow closely or do not follow at all. Respondents aged 55 and older follow the events related to Ukraine most closely, while those aged 18-24 and 25-39 follow them the least.
In April, there was a slight increase in attention given to the situation in Ukraine and support for the actions of the Russian Armed Forces. However, concern about Ukrainian events remains high, at the level of the beginning of the year. The proportion of respondents in favor of a transition to peace negotiations has increased.
As in other months, respondents in the older age group (55 years and older) follow the events related to Ukraine most closely: in this group, 69% follow closely. In the age group from 40 to 54 years, 52% of the respondents follow closely, 43% of those aged 25 to 39, and 41% of those aged 18 to 24.
Are you concerned about current events in Ukraine?
Events in Ukraine worry 84% of respondents: half of them are "very worried", and a little more than a third (34%) are "rather worried." A minority, 16% of those polled, is not worried about Ukrainian events, but only 6% responded: “not at all worried.” The other 10% were not terribly worried. This distribution has changed little since the beginning of the year.
Respondents who trust TV as the main source of news, and those who approve of the activities of the President, demonstrate the highest level of support for the actions of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine.
In contrast, young people, women, and respondents who do not support Putin's activities as president more often support the transition to peace negotiations.
- Most respondents are concerned about the death of civilians (22%), "NVO itself" (15%), and the prolongation of the war (11%).
- Respondents aged 55 and older (92%) are most concerned about Ukrainian events, while respondents aged 18-24 and 25-39 are less concerned (about 75%).
- In April, there was a slight increase in support for the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine. 43% definitely support (compared to 41% in March), and 32% probably support (compared to 31% in March). 16% do not support it (compared to 20% in March).
Do you personally support the actions of the RF Armed Forces in Ukraine?
Those who support the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine explained their stance in several ways. 19% believed that "it is necessary to support our own," while 16% thought it was crucial to ensuring the country's security. Another 14% believed that it was necessary to "destroy the fascists" and protect "citizens/Russians/residents of Donbass". This speaks to the role of systematic disinformation in manufacturing support among the Russian public. It's significant, but it wasn't the most common rationale given.
- The respondents who do not support the actions of the RF Armed Forces in Ukraine cite among the main reasons for their position: "Against violence, it is necessary to resolve it through negotiations" (19%), "People are dying" (19%), and "We started first, this is Ukrainian land" (11%).
- People who trust TV as their main news source (87%) and those who approve of the President's activities (84%) are more likely to support the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine, along with men aged 55 and older (84%).
- On the other hand, those who disapprove of the President (29%), young people (63% of respondents aged 18-24), women (73%), and those who don't trust any news sources (64%) are less likely to show their support.
Please note that information originating from within Russia should be viewed with a degree of skepticism. However, the Levada Center is a reputable organization that documents Russian attitudes. Its polling data has been cited by several reputable sources in 2022, such as Foreign Policy, NBC, NPR, Axios, Time, DW, and The Atlantic Council. The center's polls indicate that a significant number of people hold views that conflict with the Kremlin's stance on the war. Furthermore, these attitudes align with those seen during times with less overt information control. While there is a possibility of interference, the polls may also reveal existing sentiments and trends.