What Exactly Do Russians Say?
During the first week of the war independent sociologists and data-analysts found out that the majority of the Russians supporting the war trust the official sources of information.
The main emotion shared by the Russians on social media (30.4%) is sympathy towards the Ukrainians. Only 2.4% of posts contain any criticism of or hostility towards the Ukrainians.
Young Russians openly
against the war
The researchers conclude that many of the young Russians do not approve of the war: the older the Russians are, the more likely they are to support the war.
* Research methodology is comprised of a telephone poll (find details and spss here) + social networks analysis.
What does a person think about when asked does he support the war?
What does a person think of when asked if they support the “military operation”? While some think of ruined towns, thousands of dead soldiers and civilians, others sincerely believe in joyful Ukrainians greeting the “liberators.” Most people in Russia, especially those of older age, have been denied access to independent media for years. Thus, they trust the things propaganda has planted in their minds. They know close to nothing about the artillery strikes at civil neighborhoods, and they are sure the only Ukrainians who resist Russia’s intervention are extreme “ultranationalists.”
What is more, the Russians are actually afraid of war*. The majority of the nation do not consider Ukrainians their foes and believe that what Russian army is doing is handing a helping hand to their brotherly people.
What do the Russians hear from their government daily?
there is no ongoing war;
the special operation held in Ukraine is aimed strictly at the military infrastructure of the fascists who seized the power in Kyiv to intimidate and oppress the nation;
we fight for our freedom and the freedom of the Ukrainian people;
the Ukrainians welcome the Russian army, the only ones resisting are nazi groups and military forces controlled by the fascist Kyiv regime;
Russia has not struck first, we reacted to the Ukrainian aggression;
there has been a full-fledged genocide of the Russians in Donbas, Ukraine for years;
Russia has not started the war, it has come to end it;
civilians and civil infrastructure are attacked only by the Ukrainian provocateurs;
casualties among the Russian army are very few;
if not for the Russian operation, the NATO and the nazis would have attacked very soon to procede with the genocide of the Russian and the Ukrainian nations.
e.g.: some of the Russian media report that president Putin has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for his peace-restoration efforts.
* according to the Levada Center research, 62% of the Russians are afraid of WWIII
“On the Yandex home page, a minimum of 30 million Russian users see that there is no war, there are no thousands of dead Russian soldiers, no dozens of civilians killed by the Russian bombardments, no dozens of war prisoners, no immense destruction in the Ukrainian cities. The fact that a significant part of Russian citizens may believe that there is no war at all is the basis and the engine of this war,”
— Lev Gershenson, ex-chief
of Yandex.News, explains
What Do Russians Post on Social Media?
Dynamics and content of pro- and anti-war statements made by the Russians on social media have been analyzed by the Tazeros data-analysts. The numbers differ from those of the telephone poll. While about 52% entries in Russia have been in support of, and 30% against the "military action," the main emotion shared by the Russians, both pro- and against war, is sympathy towards the Ukrainians (30%).
To see results for Russia, sort by pressing "Russia" button
Quotes from the social media:
Quotes from the telephone survey:
an 86 y.o. village woman
Ukraine and Russia are the same to me. No, we don't want any military action. We do not. No, no, no way. I want peace. My daughter-in-law is a Ukrainian, we're like the same family.
a 64 y.o. city woman
Of course we don't want the war. We know what a war is. I've been through two wars. I don't wish anyone the same. How can anyone support a war, miss? I want peace on earth, I want my grandkids and kids to live. No, surely not, [I do not support the war].
a 70 y.o. village woman
I am of the generation who worked with the Ukrainians, I respect them very much. We danced to Ukrainian dances, [sang] Ukrainian songs, I think highly of Ukraine. Very highly. Believe it or not, nobody in Ukraine did me anything wrong. I pity our kids who are fighting now, the kids from both sides. My grandson is 20, my son is 43, I am so very much afraid that they might get drafted if a war starts. And the Ukrainian nation has done nothing wrong. So I like them very much. [The interviewer inquires if she supports the ongoing military action or not] Of course I do. Let them kick the Maidaners out! Let the real Ukrainians live! The Ukrainian nation that we love, love, love. We do indeed. There is no such thing as a bad nation, only bad people. Let the government decide whether or not to support... It's not for me to answer. I say, I am against wars. Against. From any side.
Why Don't Russians Have Access to Independent Information?
For a few years before the war the vast majority of the independent media have been discriminated against and labeled as “foreign agents.” This was done to undermine the public’s trust and interfere with the journalists’ personal lives and professional activities.
The Russian media that refuse to follow the censorship instructions prohibiting to call the war by its name, “the war,” are being shut down (during just the first week of the war all major media have been blocked or shut down).
At schools, teachers are made to hold special “lessons” forcing the official position (see above) on Russian children. A full-fledged propaganda campaign has been unleashed in social media, including TikTok which is most popular among the youth.
Wikipedia has received a threat of blockage because of the article on the war mentioning “information on numerous casualties among the Russian military, as well as the Ukrainian citiziens, including children.”
The Parliament has announced legislation prohibiting “the dissemination of fakes” about the actions of the Russian military forces under the threat of 3 to 15 years in jail. Search engines and news aggregators downplay independent sources.
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