BRIEF: Ukraine's Counteroffensive and its impact on the Russian public
Open Minds Institute • July 26, 2023
The Open Minds Institute, a research organization that describes itself as “a think and do tank fighting authoritarianism and propaganda,” surveyed Russian citizens to understand their perspectives on a variety of potential future scenarios relating to the geopolitical and internal landscape of their country, as well as their prospects and perceptions of national identity and state power.
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The survey revealed inconsistencies and, on the institute’s assessment, cognitive dissonance in Russian public opinion.
- Russian public opinion desires peace, yet many believe in their military's superiority.
- Over half of respondents couldn’t imagine Ukraine defeating Russia, and a significant portion do not consider the Russian military weaker than NATO's.
- Primary concerns include escalation to World War III, missile strikes on Russia, personal economic issues, and potential power shifts within Russia through military uprisings.
- The fate of the annexed Ukrainian territories was of less concern than fears of Russian territory being claimed by China.
- The state propaganda appears to have rendered many Russians passively undecided, causing confusion and uncertainty.