Reports over the past two months have shed light on growing Kremlin concerns about Vladimir Putin’s war plans and the long-term damage the ‘special military operation’ is doing to Russia. Evidence is now also coming to light of increasing war-related unrest among the Russian people.
Opinion polls by the Levada Center show that fewer Russians paid attention to military actions at the end of April than the month before.
Less than 60 percent said they are closely monitoring events, which the center says represents a “gradual decline.”
Of these, 26 percent say they look at reports “very carefully” and 33 percent “quite carefully.”
Samuel Ramani, Associate Fellow at Royal United Services Institute for Defense and Security Studies, described these results as “very interesting”.
He said in a tweet: “While the Russian media has called for a total mobilization in support of the war and continues to warn against World War III, apathy towards the war is growing in Russia.”
War apathy is especially strong among younger Russians.
Only 36 percent of 18 to 24-year-olds say they follow the war closely.
This is in stark contrast to the 71 percent of older Russians.
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No matter how concerned about the ongoing events, the Russian people are very limited by law in the extent to which they can criticize military events.
Towards the start of the invasion, a law warned those who spread “false” information about the war could face up to 15 years in prison.
This, according to Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin, is provoking a “very harsh” response to those who “make statements that discredit our armed forces”.
Other laws have made it more difficult to determine the actual death rates of Russian troops, without which the discomfort with the events might be greater.
Inside the Kremlin, a Bloomberg citing officials who would rather go unnamed highlighted deep concerns about the long-term effects of the war, which Russia is already having on the global stage and is expected to continue to isolate.
The Levada poll took into account the views of 1,616 people aged 18 and over from both urban and rural areas.