By Paul Goble
Mariya Matskevich of the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences says that “a large part of the Russian population” views the war in Ukraine as “holy” and “a war of Russia with the entire rest of the world.” And she adds, this is a position many Russians find far more congenial than any cooperation with the outside world.
Polls consistently and, the sociologist says, generally accurately, this pattern as well as the widespread belief that what Russia is doing in Ukraine is defending itself against Western attack. Because of this, Russian support for Putin, his government and even United Russia has risen since the start of hostilities (gorod-812.ru/my-protiv-vseh-pochemu-znachitelnaya-chast-naseleniya-rossii-odobryaet-speczoperacziyu/).
The main dividing line between those who support the war and those who don’t involve television viewing. Those who watch four hours or more a day back the war; but they do so, Matskevich says, less because of what television tells them than because they self-select themselves to view it rather than the internet.
The sociologist adds that she does not think that the reduction in the standard of living will affect those who support Putin. The reason is simple: The Russians who are going to suffer the most from Western sanctions are those who didn’t support the Kremlin leader to begin with. They may become angrier but not more numerous.
Today Matskevich argues, many Russians feel that their country is surrounded by hostile foreign powers; and they are glad that Putin has cleared the air by acting as he has. “Now everything has become understandable: we are alone against everyone else.” Perhaps surprisingly, that is a stance many Russians like.