Staunton, July 21 – Today what is happening in Ukraine is for most Russians “’a special operation on television,’” VTsIOM director Valery Fedorov says. And that explains why Vladimir Putin has said that “we haven’t begun to fight seriously” there but are still acting as if this is a peacetime action.
That helps to explain why Russians have the sense that “events are developing in the correct direction” and also why “up to now, no tiredness from the special military operation is yet observed,” he continues. “This doesn’t mean this will always be true, but today it very much is” (business-gazeta.ru/article/557991).
In other comments about Putin’s war in Ukraine, Fedorov said:
· Opinions about the war pro and con settled in mid-March and have changed little since that time.
· Russians accept the idea that the fight in Ukraine is not between Russia and Ukraine but between Russia and the West. Western criticism of Russia has reinforced this view.
· Support for the war both flows from and reinforces Russian support for Putin. Russians are inclined to support whatever he does because they believe he fights for Russia and because even his most unexpected moves have turned out to be right.
· Fears that sanctions will have catastrophic consequences for Russia have diminished not grown over the course of the fighting.
· Because Russians are long accustomed to living worse than people in the West, they have been less affected by sanctions than people in the West would be.