Russians Getting Used to the Long Game in Ukraine

Long Game in Ukraine. Rolling with it: Seems like folks in Russia are getting into the groove of a prolonged tussle in Ukraine, at least that’s the vibe from the Levada Centre, this independent research gang. A good chunk of the population seems to be backing up President Vladimir Putin’s moves, with about 43% throwing a solid “definitely yes” to supporting the actions of the Russian armed forces. Another 33% are kinda leaning towards a “rather yes” response.

Z-Patriots in the Mix

Behind the scenes: Levada Centre labels a group as “Z-patriots,” making up around 25% of the Russian crowd. These peeps are all about keeping the military show rolling, and shockingly, about 10% of them are even saying, “Sure, let’s use nuclear weapons.” The rest might not be thrill about the war, but societal norms and upbringing are tapping them on the shoulder, telling them to keep it on the down-low.

Why the Hush-Hush?

Battle of loyalties: It’s a straightforward concept, according to Denis Volkov, Director of the Levada Centre—there are ‘our own’ and there are ‘strangers’. Even if folks don’t exactly vibe with the reason for the war, those doing the fighting are still consider ‘our guys.’ It’s a clash where loyalty often takes the front seat.

Boosting Support Through the Struggle

Shifting gears: Dr. Anna Matveeva, from King’s College London, notes that support for Russian troops is picking up steam, and there’s a bit of a mindset shift going on. Even those who originally giving the war a thumbs-down are now thinking, “Here we are in the middle of it, we can’t afford to lose now. These are our guys, our boys, our husbands. Even if the reason they are fighting is off, they’re still our guys, our citizens. So we gotta back them up.”

Things Influencing How People Feel

Money Matters: Despite hitting a financial speed bump in March 2022, thanks to worries about foreign sanctions, Russia managed to steady the ship. They made an effort to reassure the public, especially when it comes to keeping things economically stable. More cash for those in the middle of the conflict, their families, and pensioners, along with a boost in the minimum wage, helped keep that feeling of ‘everything’s okay’ alive.

Frontline Updates: Even with a few hiccups and losses on the battlefield, it hasn’t really swayed how people feel about the Russian army’s performance. But constant bad news and the lack of info on how many Russian soldiers are getting hurt could eventually mess with public opinion.

Mobilization Moves: The partial mobilization the Kremlin shouted about in the fall of the previous year some big social aftershocks. Even though the actual number of people thrown into action not that huge on a national scale, it caused a scene. This got the bigwigs thinking that maybe mobilization, unless it’s a mega-crisis, isn’t such a hot idea. It tends to stir up more trouble than it’s worth.

Basically, Russians are rolling with the punches, finding a mix of loyalty, cash flow, and the ongoing situation at the front messing with their feelings about the whole Ukraine situation.