Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Russians have Adapted to Conflict in Ukraine at Current Level of Intensity and Their Desire for Change has Disappeared, VTsIOM Head Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Jan. 20 – As the special military operation in Ukraine approaches its second anniversary, Valery Fedorov says, Russians “have been able to adapt themselves to the new realities” of the conflict at the current level of intensity and their desire for change in the short term have “disappeared.”

            The head of VTsIOM, a polling agency with close ties to the Kremlin, says that after almost two years of conflict, “what seemed unthinkable at the start has become commonplace. Military actions have acquired their own inertia and life at home has been rebuilt taking into account the new realities (

            And Russians now are in a mood to “fight as long as necessary to achieve our goals,” Fedorov says, a sharp contrast to “our opponents” who are less patient and are turning away from Ukraine because they recognize Kyiv cannot achieve their goals despite Western assistance and the militarization of Ukraine.

            According to Fedorov, Russia “has managed to organize the special military operation in such a way that the country was not transformed into a single military camp.” General mobilization might have brought “a quicker victory but only at the risk of costing far more.” Instead, Moscow established “a thin, semi-permeable membrane” between society and war.

            With rare exceptions, that membrane has held and that defines Russia today, Fedorov says. As a result, “the demand for change has disappeared in society,” although many would like “a positive image of the future.” But that is a medium rather than short-term goal; and at present, “the demand for stability dominates.”

            “That is why everyone is consolidating around Putin,” the VTsIOM head says. “The country struggles, fights and survives; and Putin is viewed as a strategist, diplomat and visionary politician, boundlessly loyal to his country and someone who doesn’t work for wealth or his ‘family,’ but for the country.” That is more than enough, he suggests.

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