In the press, Publications

Escalation in southeast Ukraine

Almost half of Russians (48%) believe that the United States and NATO countries were the initiators of the escalation in the Donbass. 20% of respondents believe that the initiator was the Kiev authorities. 2% – the unrecognized republics of Novorossia, and 4% that it was Russia.

The view that the United States and its allies are to blame for the escalation is dominant in all age groups. It is most popular in the group of respondents 55 and older (57%), and least popular in the 18-24 year old group (36%). 21% of 18-24 year old respondents believe that “no one in particular” is to blame for the current aggravation.

More than half of television viewers (57%) and radio listeners (52%) believe that the United States and NATO are to blame for the escalation. Among those who prefer new media, the proportion is somewhat lower: 46% for Internet readers, 39% and 26% for readers of social networks and telegram channels, respectively. 28% of the readers of telegram channels surveyed believe that Russia is to blame for the escalation.

Only 2% of Russians believe that clashes in the eastern regions of Ukraine could escalate into a war between Russia and Ukraine. 35% of respondents believe that this is likely to happen. 39% of respondents believe war is unlikely, while 16% are certain there will be no war.

On the issue of whether Russia should intervene in the conflict on the side of the DPR/LPR in the event of hostilities, the opinion of Russians was divided almost evenly. 

43% of respondents believe that Russia should intervene (18% – definitely yes, 25% – rather yes). On the other hand, 43% believe that it is not necessary to intervene in the conflict (18% – definitely no, 25% – rather no).

The view that it is necessary to intervene in the conflict in the case of the outbreak of hostilities is most popular among older groups: 54% (definitely yes or rather yes) and only 34% (definitely no or rather no) in the 55 and older group. This view is much less popular among younger groups: 34% (definitely yes or rather yes) and 53% (definitely no or rather no) among 18-24 year old respondents.

The majority of Russians (65%) would support the incorporation of the DPR/LPR republics into Russia, if they asked for it. 26% would not support it.

16% of respondents believe that in the event of a full-fledged war with Ukraine, the attitude of Russians toward Vladimir Putin will improve. One-third of the respondents (31%) believe that this will cause dissatisfaction among Russians with Vladimir Putin. 42% believe that the attitude will not change.

The view that in the event of war Vladimir Putin’s authority will grow is most popular among older groups of the population – 19% among respondents 55 and older. The opposite point of view is more popular among Russians aged 18-24 (41%). The point of view that the attitude towards the president will not change is also most popular among respondents aged 18-24 years – 46%.

The wording of the questions was compiled in cooperation with Open Media.

This survey was conducted April 22 – 28 2021, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1614 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.


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