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Chronicles 8

A year of war as seen by Russians

On February 2‒9, 2023 we conducted a telephone survey about how Russians see the results of the year of war. The final sample consisted of 1600 people, distributed by socio-demographic and territorial characteristics according to Rosstat. The anonymised data set and analytical report are available on our Github page:

​Groups of consistent war supporters and opponents are almost equal in size: 22% vs 20%;


Issue of troops withdrawal divides the society;


Economic problems continue to reduce the effect of state propaganda;


 25% spoke out in support of V. Putin, 21% expressed criticism.

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Refrigerator neutralizes TV

Contrary to popular belief, respondents with the lowest income, who experienced the war first hand, are less likely to declare "support for the special operation" than those in whose life everything is "safe". In this wave of research, we took a deeper look at the attitudes towards the war among those who suffered in one way or another because of it (family income decreased, food had to be saved, anxiety attacks, etc.)._cc781905-5cde-3194-bb3b- 136bad5cf58d_

 

It turned out that if a person personally suffered from the war, at least financially, watching TV does not affect the level of “support” expressed by him. In other cases, the TV factor still affects the level of “support” more than any other: more than 70% of those who support the war receive information about it on TV. 

 

Thus, the effect of an empty refrigerator is comparable in its impact on public opinion to the effect of propaganda on TV.

Russians keep getting poorer

89%

respondents do not expect their financial situation to improve in the next six months 

50%

of respondents say utility costs have increased significantly 

16%

of respondents noted that important medicines disappeared from the market

52%

respondents are forced to save on products

due to rising prices

39%

of respondents say that family income has decreased

9%

reported that someone from their family was laid off at work or someone from their relatives lost their business

Based on the fact that among those who suffered or suffered material costs from the war, the level of “support” is lower than among those who have not yet suffered from the war or its consequences, it can be assumed that further impoverishment will lead to a decrease in the level of “support”.
 

The war directly affected 20 million Russians

More than 4 million Russians (3% of respondents) had a family member forced to leave home due to the war (but not to the front). Since March, more than 17 million Russians (12% of respondents) have had one of their family members (obviously, we are talking about an “extended” family) called up for military service.

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Mobilized men are less likely to pick up the phone

In October, declared "support" for the war rose to 57%, "real" - up to 32%. By "real" supporters we included those who declared that they supported the war AND were ready to voluntarily participate in it OR give part of their income to the needs of the army.

 

At first glance, the increase in "support" must be caused by propaganda that presents the terror of civilians as a humane military achievement. But a deeper analysis showed that in order to recruit the statistically required number of men from 18 to 34 years old, it is necessary to make 4 percentage points more calls than in July - and it is among the citizens of this age that the proportion of “supporting” the war increased from 38.3% in July to 41.9% in October, that is, by the same 4 (3.6) percentage points.

 

Probably, the real level of support did not increase, but young men with anti-war views began to answer the phone less often, fearing a call from the military registration and enlistment office, which led to a bias in the sample*.

*sampling bias is a situation in which the socio-demographic composition of a group remains the same, but the prevalence of opinions in this group begins to differ from the “norm” (as far as this norm is possible in a war)

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By transferring money to support our project, you are helping to tell people in Russia and abroad about what (and, most importantly, why) the people of Russia think about the war with Ukraine. Our goal is to change public opinion about the war. Propaganda speaks of almost unconditional support for the war by citizens of the Russian Federation, but in reality everything is radically more complicated: the level of support is lower than “official” opinion polls show, and this support is not at all what it seems. We will spend all donations made in cryptocurrency on conducting opinion polls and creating analytics. 

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