Conversations with friends and discussion of Ukrainian events

Most often, respondents talk to friends about routine matters: children, work and household. One in five likes to talk about politics. At the same time, about half of the respondents discuss the topic of the “special operation” with their family and friends. However, most are not ready to engage in conversations about this with strangers. This is similar to how respondents discuss other socio-political topics.

At the end of March, respondents noted that they most often talk to their friends and acquaintances about children (39%), about their work (35%) and about the household (29%). 28% of respondents talk about prices, goods, queues, 22% – about politics.

About half (46%) of respondents claim that questions about the “special operation” are discussed among their family, neighbors, colleagues and that they take part in them. Another 13% of respondents say that such topics are discussed, but they do not take part in those conversations, 40% – that these issues are not discussed.

Most often, respondents 55 years and older spoke about participation in the discussion of the “special operation” among home, neighbors, colleagues: among them 57% claim that such topics are discussed and they take part in these conversations, a third – that such conversations are not conducted. Respondents who approve of the president’s activities are also more actively involved in such conversations: about half (48%) join these conversations, 38% say that such topics are not discussed. The youngest respondents and those who disapprove of the president’s activities were the least likely to participate in such discussions – 30% and 37%, respectively.

It is also observed that respondents who support the actions of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in Ukraine are more likely to participate in conversations about the “special operation” among the inner circle: 53% of them participate, 34% say that this topic is not discussed. A mirror situation is observed among those who do not support the “special operation”: 52% say that this topic is not discussed and only 29% participate in such conversations.

It should be noted that in 2016, a similar question was asked about the discussion of the upcoming Duma elections. As the election day approached, the number of people discussing the election increased. At the peak of interest in the election campaign in September 2016, this topic was discussed about as much as the course of the “special operation” is being discussed today.

14% of respondents say that if the “special operation” is discussed in a public place, they will express their point of view, 84% – that they will not do it. Most often, the oldest respondents (17%) and those who approve of the president’s activities (14%) speak about the opportunity to express their point of view about the “special operation” in a public place. Respondents aged 18-24 (8%) and those who disapprove of the president’s activities (8%) are less willing to express their position. There are no significant differences between those who support and do not support the “special operation”, the vast majority of those and others do not try not to discuss these issues in public.

Approximately the same proportion of respondents (about 20%) were ready to join the conversation about the elections to the State Duma of the Russian Federation in 2016 and express their point of view. And in this regard, the topic of “special operations” is not much different from other socio-political topics.


The all-Russian survey by the Levada Center was conducted March 23 – 29 2023, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample consisted of 1633 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.


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