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Military sociology cannot be a perfect science, but it can still reveal the deepest contradictions in a society. The research group Russian Field has published the results of another poll about the attitude of Russians to the not-war*. According to the data, 29% of citizens would be happy to halt the special military operation (SMO) if it was up to them. Only slightly more than half (55%) would not wish for this yet, at least out loud. But in order to understand how attitudes towards this not-war will change in the near future, it is worth looking at where in Russian society one may find these supporters and opponents.
The core of those against the imperialist adventure are the youth, the intelligentsia and the poor. Opposition was admitted to by 85% of scientists, more than half of advertisers and journalists (54%) and 40% of workers in the cultural sphere. Less educated people from the bottom of society more often declined to answer the question decisively. But among the wealthiest, only 15% supported the abolition of the massacre. 34-35% of respondents in the two poorest categories supported the cessation of hostilities. Among those who “barely have enough money for food,” 39% are Z-supporters**, 34% are against, and 26% are abstainers. Most Russians under the age of 30 simply want to forget what is happening as if it was a bad dream. As the age bracket increases, so do the number of supporters..
You don’t have to be Nostradamus to make an obvious prediction: as some people descend from well-to-do groups to the ranks of the disadvantaged, the support for the not-war will decline. The correlation between the general state of affairs in the country and support for the SMO is very high. Among people who are satisfied with the situation in Russia, 73% V-voted for not-war, with only 12% against. Among those dissatisfied with the internal situation, the proportion is reversed: 34% are not ready to stop the military intervention and 51% would rather do so. It is clear how sentiments will change as the socio-economic climate changes.
The core of support for the militarists is also predictable: law enforcement officers (80%), pensioners (63%), civil servants (62%), and employees of housing and communal services enterprises (54%). The regime’s social base is made up of the security forces, officials and the two most passive and demobilized categories of the population: pensioners and state employees.
It can be assumed, however, that the current loyalists’ support is not unconditional. It is limited by the belief that not-war personally will not cost them anything. For example, supporters of the special operation, as a rule, are not afraid for their savings (71%), while its opponents are worried about them (47%), or simply do not have them.
Loyalty to the Ukrainian adventure directly depends on a degree of demobilization of the society. Support for the SMO correlates with watching television (66%), where indescribable hysteria reigns. There, political deviants and fools of all stripes and colors fantasize about the destruction of the British Isles, and about the total mobilization of the economy and population. In the short term, this degree of aggressive frenzy probably keeps the support of the audience. But in the longer term, it may undermine the very foundation of the reigning order. As the couch-potatoes get involved, questions arise.
As a focus group, you can look at the “involved patriots,” those who regard Igor Ivanovich [Strelkov] as their hero. They have pledged unwavering support for the war until victory is won but, day by day, they have more and more questions for the operations command. Engagement and mobilization are deadly to the system, and its most intelligent representatives are well aware of this.
But they can’t do anything about it. The fact is, the political madmen on TV did not escape from the asylum by chance. They are the backbone of the not-war party. In their struggle for influence and lucre, they have no other means available to them than to raise the temperature of militaristic exaltation, even if this results in the immolation of the very foundation on which all this bloody burlesque is built. After all, waving the nuclear baton on-air requires little in the way of talent or intellect, but it might just increase your influence on the state apparatus.
In the end, the inexorable dialectic leads one to recognize that passive support for the not-war is crumbling from both sides at once, from falling incomes and rising prices on the one side, and from patriotic media wheezing on the other.
* In Russia it is forbidden to use the term war when speaking about military operations in Ukraine.
** Latin characters Z and V are used in Russia as symbols of support for the troops fighting in Ukraine.
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