Staunton, May 4 – Russians may not be able to call Putin’s “special military operation” in Ukraine a war, but they know it constitutes a real danger for Russian troops, with 43 percent telling the Superjob polling agency that being a soldier is the “most dangerous” profession in Russia, more than seven times as many as list miners, the next most dangerous.
This is clearly the result of reporting, however limited about Putin’s war in Ukraine. Two years ago, only six percent of Russians named soldiering the most dangerous, behind the 20 percent who identified doctors, then fighting the pandemic, the 10 percent who pointed to fireman, and the eight percent who mentioned miners (thinktanks.by/publication/2022/05/04/v-rossii-professiya-soldat-bet-rekordy-po-opasnosti.html).
Even more striking perhaps is how much greater a share of Russians now identify soldiering as the most dangerous job than did earlier when Moscow deployed its army to fight. In 2008, at the time of the invasion of Georgia, 18 percent did; in 2014, at the time of the Anschluss of Crimea and invasion of Ukraine’s Donbass, 11 percent said so.
These results demonstrate that Russians entirely correctly view Putin’s war in Ukraine as a more serious threat to Russian soldiers than either of those earlier conflicts, something that is virtually certain to make meeting draft goals and attracting volunteers far more difficult than the regime would like.