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Russians Are Split over Benefits of Military Action in Ukraine

Sixteen months into the conflict, new joint polling from the Council and the Levada Center finds the Russian public remains largely supportive of their country’s “special military operation” in Ukraine. Compared to last fall, more Russians now say they think the operation has been successful (61%, up from 53% in November) and that Moscow should continue the fight (48%, up from 38% in April) instead of negotiating for peace.  

Still, Russians are divided about the conflict’s impact. Nearly as many say the military operation has created more harm (41%) for their country than benefit (38%). “Taken together, the data seem to indicate that the public is much more mixed in their views than it appears at first glance,” Senior Fellow Dina Smeltz and the Levada Center’s Denis Volkov and Stepan Goncharov write.  

Read the full report, including comments from focus groups with Russian civilians. 

The Data Dimension

Although Russians continue to back their country’s military operation in Ukraine, that’s not to say they want it to last forever. Sixty-two percent say they would support President Vladimir Putin ending the conflict with Ukraine this week, new Council-Levada Center polling finds. However, if that required returning territory to Kyiv, the same percentage would oppose it. 

"column chart showing support for Putin ending Ukraine conflict"

What We're Watching

  • LGBTQ+ rights worldwide: “Many of the countries with the harshest laws against LGBTQ communities are some of America’s close 'friends,’" notes Senior Fellow Elizabeth Shackelford. She unpacks how Washington can defend its values in the Chicago Tribune.  
  • US engagement with the Global South: The Stimson Center’s Aude Dornal joins Deep Dish to explain why the relationship between the West and the Global South is failing—and what can be done to change that. 
  • South Korean perceptions of Pyongyang: “[Young voters] are not looking at North Korea as a potential reunification partner," Marshall M. Bouton Fellow for Asia Studies Karl Friedhoff tells NK News. “Increasingly, the younger populations in South Korea are looking at North Korea as either just a neighbor or as an actual enemy.” 
  • Big tech’s global influence: The economic power wielded by corporations is no match for the power of sovereign nations, Nonresident Fellow Paul Poast argues in World Politics Review

Ask an Expert

How are American religious groups connected to the anti-gay movement in Uganda? 

"Emma Sanderson headshot"

“When the US government began legalizing gay marriage at the state level in the early 2000s, many extreme evangelical groups started to recognize that the fight against LGBTQ+ rights in the United States was a losing battle. These groups then shifted focus to Uganda, which was seen as fertile ground for this anti-gay ideology due to a majority conservative Christian base and young population. [They] have since spent years and tens of millions of dollars spreading homophobia in Uganda and beyond.”  

—Research Assistant Emma Sanderson in Global Insight

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About the Author
Communications Officer
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As the communications officer for the Lester Crown Center, Libby Berry works to connect audiences with foreign policy research and analysis.
headshot of Libby Berry