Sunday, March 10, 2024

By Claiming War was ‘Inevitable’ and ‘Forced on Russia,’ Putin has Won Over Many who Originally Opposed It, Zhuravlyev Says

 Paul Goble

            Staunton, Mar. 5 – Many Russians who were originally opposed to Putin’s war in Ukraine became at least passive supporters of the campaign after Putin began to argue that the conflict was “inevitable” and “forced on Russia,” according to Oleg Zhuravlev of the independent Public Sociology Laboratory.

            On the basis of an examination of 300 in-depth interviews and focus groups, he says that many Russian as were initially horrified by and opposed to the war; and many still are less than enthusiastic backers because Putin has failed to give either a reason for the war or to say how long it will go on (

            But when the Kremlin leader began to argue that the war was somehow “inevitable” or had been “forced on Russia” by the West, such people became at least passive supporters of the war, Zhuravlev says. In fact, the notion that the war was “inevitable” became “a bridge” allowing them to become its supporters.

            And many of those who became supporters in this way “have simply forgotten that they had earlier seen an alternative approach” and were opponents of the war, he continues. “They see their own position on the war now as something that is beyond their capacity to control.” But in most cases, their support is hardly “enthusiastic” but passive and thus is at risk of change again

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