Sunday, May 7, 2023

The Share of Russians who Oppose Putin’s War in Ukraine is Far Larger than That Prepared to Protest Against It, Koneva Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 4 – Just under a third of the population of the Russian Federation is opposed to the war in Ukraine, Elena Koneva says, on the basis of an examination of various polls; but most of them are not radicals and prefer to avoid clashes with the authorities by offering no resistance and withdrawing into their own lives.

            There is a mistaken tendency to consider that only those who are prepared to engage in protest are opponents of the war, the founder of the independent ExtremeScan research agency says. In fact, many more Russians oppose the war but aren’t radicals ready to take action (

            Most of the 30 percent who don’t support the war have no background as dissenters or protesters. They instead have focused on their own lives and don’t want the powers that be to interfere. But it would be a mistake to ignore the number of Russians who want to go on with their own lives and yet oppose the war.

            “Despite their atomization and pessimism,” Koneva says, “these people have the capacity for understanding the terrible war their country has unleashed; and as more do so, then there will be a chance for them to move from silent non-support to more open and available forms of anti-war activity.”

            And the sociologist concludes: “Today, people find the strength to live for the sake of their loved ones, students and patients, and their professions even as they have less and less hope for a quick end to the war. Within this group, apathy is only one of the attitudes that develops. So too is the potential for resistance and volunteerism.”

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