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30 percent of Russians say they want the war to end immediately What the latest Kremlin-commissioned opinion poll reveals about domestic support for the war
Please note: Accurate public opinion polling is difficult in countries like Russia, where openly opposing the military's actions can lead to criminal charges. For more insight into how to interpret this kind of survey data, check out sociologist Dr. Alexey Bessudnov's analysis of an earlier VTsIOM poll.
Meduza has obtained the results of a closed opinion poll that was commissioned by the Russian presidential administration and conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) in late June 2022. Respondents were asked about their view of the war: “Some people say the military activity in Ukraine should be brought to an end as soon as possible. Others believe it’s not time to end it yet. Which view do you agree with more — the first or the second?” How many people responded is unknown.
Based on the documents at Meduza’s disposal, 30 percent of respondents believe the “military activity in Ukraine" should be “brought to an end as soon as possible.” Another 13 percent said the question was difficult to answer, while 57 percent said they believe the war should continue. A source close to the presidential administration told Meduza that a presentation shown by the administration included the same figures.
The survey results also sorted respondents by age. Among respondents ages 18-24, 56 percent supported ending the war, while 19 percent wanted it to continue. In the 25-34 age group, 43 percent wanted the war to end, while 41 percent wanted it to continue. Overall, the older the age group, the higher percentage of respondents supported the war. Among respondents over 60, for example, 72 percent said they want the war to continue.
In Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to the survey data, about 40 percent of respondents wanted the war to be brought to an end, while about 48 percent wanted it to continue. Russia’s other large cities (those with populations of more than one million) showed the highest levels of support for the war, with 62 percent of respondents on average expressing support for its continuation.
VTsIOM also studied the relationship between support for the war and media consumption. Among “active internet users,” 47 percent of respondents said they want the war to end, while 35 percent said they want it to continue. Among television viewers, however, only 22 percent support ending the war, while 68 percent wanted it to continue.
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VTsIOM hasn’t shared this data publicly. The only related survey data on the organization's website is from a June poll in which Russians were asked whether they supported the “special military operation.” In that survey, 72 percent of respondents said they were “inclined to support” the war, while only 17 percent said they were “inclined not to support” the war. 11 percent were unable to answer.
Neither VTsIOM nor Russian Presidential Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov responded to Meduza’s requests for comment.
Sociologist Grigory Yudin told Meduza the survey results were “predictable,” noting that a wide range of polls have found that the “special military operation” has more support among older Russians and residents of big cities, where a lot of people work in the public sector. “This is a war of old folks and security officials, who want to lock the country in the past,” he said.
At the same time, Yudin said he’s confident that young people’s desire for the war to come to an end is not going to translate into any large-scale protests any time soon. A source close to the presidential administration told Meduza that even if major protests did break out, “there are plenty of riot police” to suppress them. No closed poll results are going to bring the war to an end, said the source: “The president wants to fight — and he’s in charge.”
Abridged translation by Sam Breazeale
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