Fewer Than Half Of Russians Still Back Putin's War In Ukraine, New Poll Claims

For the first time, the proportion who want the war to end outnumbers those who want it to continue.
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin
Contributor via Getty Images

Fewer than 50% of Russians want the war in Ukraine to continue, according to data from independent Russian opposition polling organisations.

Opposition outlet Verstka reported on January 8 that the proportion of Russians wanting the war to end now “without achieving the [war] goals” outnumbers those who still support the offensive – for the first time since the invasion began.

The goals for what Russian president Vladimir Putin calls the “special military operation” include the alleged “denazification” of the Kyiv government and the demilitarisation of the whole country.

Moscow was also looking to seize the whole of Ukraine, but, after months of gruelling war, it is now primarily looking to consolidate its hold onto the fifth of Ukrainian land it has already annexed.

A Moscow official also told Verstka that a Kremlin-sponsored poll revealed fewer than 50% of Russians still want the war to continue, while more than 30% of respondents want peace negotiations.

Russians have only recently started to feel the effects of the war, as the fighting has primarily taken place across Ukraine.

Moscow has recently dropped missiles on its own land by accident, while Kyiv has started to move onto the offensive and is sending missiles across the border more frequently, triggering civilian evacuations.

However, any such discontent is yet to create an anti-war political movement, and support for Putin remains high.

Still, Verstka’s findings are not unusual.

Another independent Russian opposition polling organisation, Chronicles, also found that even “consistent” advocates for the war had become less supportive across 2023.

A telephone survey suggested support decreased from 22% to 12% between February and October.

Chronicles claimed 40% of respondents also wanted troops to pull out of Ukraine without achieving its war aims – a stat which has stayed steady throughout 2023.

Another independent polling company, Levada Centre, reported at the end of October last year that 55% of respondents want Russia to start the peace process, while 38% still want the war to go ahead – numbers it says have been pretty much consistent since July.

These findings were shared by the US-based think tank the Institute for the Study of War (ISW), which also noted that Moscow was cracking down on censorship.

The ISW claimed: “Russian authorities continue efforts to consolidate control over the Russian information space ahead of the March presidential elections.”

Kremlin news agency TASS noted on Monday that the “government is preparing a bill on the rapid blocking of illegal content on the internet using a specialised information system”.

According to the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, authorities deleted or blocked over 69,000 internet resources across 2023.


What's Hot