Conflict with Ukraine: Assessments for February 2023

Support for the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine remains high. On the issue of peace negotiations, society is almost equally divided: 50% are in favor of negotiations, 43% are in favor of continuing military operations. At the same time, only the idea of an exchange of prisoners of war. An immediate ceasefire, the return of territories to Ukraine or the country’s membership in NATO are unequivocally rejected by the majority of respondents. Since November last year, the number of people who are confident in the successful course of the “special operation” has slightly increased. Respondents call the main objectives of the “special operation” the protection of Russian borders and the protection of the Russian-speaking population of Donbass.

At the end of February, there was a slight increase in support for the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine, a smooth growth has continued since December last year: 48% definitely support them (41% in December), 29% rather support (30% in December) them. 17% do not support it – (21% in December).

The highest level of support for the actions of the Russian armed forces in Ukraine is typical for those who trust TV as the main source of news and who approve of the president’s activities (86% each), as well as for respondents 55 years and older (86%) and men (83%).

The lowest level of support is observed among those who disapprove of the president’s work (32% in total). Also, young people (57% among respondents aged 18-24) and women (73%), as well as those who do not trust any news sources (62%), are less likely to show their support.

There are still slightly more supporters of peace talks in society than supporters of continuing military operations (50% versus 43% at the end of February). However, the share of supporters of the continuation of hostilities has been gradually increasing since October last year, as the shock of the announcement of partial mobilization passed.

The transition to peace negotiations is most often supported primarily by young people, women and oppositional citizens (in the latter group, the desire for peace negotiations dominates). Representatives of older generations, men and supporters of the government are more likely to advocate the continuation of hostilities. But even in these groups there is no consensus on this issue.

For the majority of respondents, the most preferred conditions for concluding a peace agreement between Russia and Ukraine are the exchange of prisoners of war (85%) and an immediate ceasefire (51%). The respondents see the return of the Zaporozhye and Kherson regions to Ukraine as unacceptable conditions (67% perceive it as unacceptable), the LPR and the DPR (71%), as well as Ukraine’s accession to NATO (76%).

Among the goals of the “special operation” respondents mainly named “to prevent an attack on Russia, secure the borders” (30%), “protection of the Russian/Russian-speaking population, civilians, DNR/LNR” (27%) and “to get rid of nationalists, eradicate fascism” (12%).

Since November last year, the proportion of respondents who believe that the “special operation” is progressing successfully has slightly increased. At the end of autumn 2022 54% thought so, in February of this year – 63%. About a quarter (24%) think that the “military operation” is progressing unsuccessfully.

6% of respondents believe that almost all the goals of the “military operation” have been achieved, 66% – that “some goals have been achieved, some have not”, another 18% believe that “almost no goals have been achieved”.


The survey by the Levada Center was conducted February 21 – 28 2023, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1626 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 distribution of responses is given as a percentage of the total number of respondents.

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 is included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.


Подпишитесь, чтобы быть в курсе последних исследований!

Выберите список(-ки):