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 Centre (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% of respondents believe the “military activity in Ukraine" should be “brought to an end as soon as possible.” Another 13% said the question was difficult to answer, while 57% 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% supported ending the war, while 19% wanted it to continue. In the 25-34 age group, 43% wanted the war to end, while 41% 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% said they want the war to continue.
In Moscow and St. Petersburg, according to the survey data, about 40% of respondents wanted the war to be brought to an end, while about 48% wanted it to continue. Russia’s other large cities (those with populations of more than 1mn) showed the highest levels of support for the war, with 62% 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% of respondents said they want the war to end, while 35% said they want it to continue. Among television viewers, however, only 22% support ending the war, while 68% wanted it to continue.
VTsIOM hasn’t shared this data publicly. The only related survey data on the organisation's website is from a June poll in which Russians were asked whether they supported the “special military operation.” In that survey, 72% of respondents said they were “inclined to support” the war, while only 17% said they were “inclined not to support” the war. 11% 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.”
This article was first published by Russian opposition outlet Meduza here.
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