The Kremlin is concerned about the political impact of discontent with the war in the run-up to the 2024 presidential election, according to a US think tank.
A recent poll showed that support for the Ukraine war in Russia has reached its lowest levels.
The number of Russians who fully support the invasion has almost halved since February 2023, independent pollster Chronicle found.
Their poll revealed that those who favor peace far outnumber those in favor of war, with a greater number of Russians supporting the departure of the country’s forces from Ukraine.
Discussing the findings, the Institute for the Study of War (ISW) said on Friday that the Kremlin was “likely concerned” about how changing attitudes toward the war would impact Russia’s 2024 presidential election.
The US-based think tank claimed that Vladimir Putin would focus his re-election campaign on “Russia’s alleged internal stability and growing criticism of the West rather than on war.”
Conducting opinion polls in authoritarian countries, such as Russia, is extremely difficult. The Kremlin has criminalized criticism of the war and has spent millions on pro-war propaganda, meaning it may not reflect the realities of the situation.
However, Chronicles, founded by Russian opposition politician Alexei Minyaylo, says its polls provide an accurate snapshot of public opinion.
The Moscow-based research group asked a series of questions to 1,199 adults across Russia in a phone survey between October 17 and 22.
It found that the number of core war supporters — those who express “continued” approval of the war and want the invasion to continue until it achieves its goals — fell from 22% in February 2023 to 12% in October.
A Chronicles poll revealed that 40% of Russians support the withdrawal of forces from Ukraine without achieving the goals of the war. This number remained constant throughout 2023.
33% opposed exiting Ukraine and wanted the war to continue, although this number declined steadily from 47% in February to 39% in July.
One reason support for the war is declining may be that Russians are growing more popular Feeling upset and seeing a bleaker future Because of the repercussions of the invasion, as a separate survey showed.
A Chronicle poll echoed this, finding that 44% of respondents saw a decline in household income.
Putin announced a significant increase in military spending this week, with about 30% of the country’s budget going toward the armed forces in 2024.
The survey also showed how the situation is affecting people’s lives.
More than half of the Russian population (52%) recently faced anxiety or depression, compared to about a third (32%) in March 2022.
People with low income were more likely to report negative mental effects.
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