The results of a recent poll on the war in Ukraine will not make Vladimir Putin happy. The share of the Russian population surveyed who consider the invasion a mistake has reached a new record high.
For the first time since the war began, 37 percent of respondents say they would reverse Moscow’s decision to launch the so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine if they could go back in time. This is evident from the survey by the Russian polling agency Russian Field. The results are based on the answers of 1,600 Russian citizens, who were surveyed by telephone from January 11 to 19.
When Russian Field first asked the same question in March 2022, 28 percent of respondents were in favor of reversing the invasion, ‘The Moscow Times’ reported.
However, the share of those who would not end the war if they could go back in time is still the majority. According to the poll, 53 percent of those surveyed said they do not believe the decision to invade Ukraine was a mistake, up from 57 percent in March 2022.
Women and younger respondents (between 18 and 45 years old) were slightly more likely to support reversing the decision to start the war against Ukraine. Russians over 45 and male respondents were “significantly more likely” to support the Kremlin’s military operation, the poll said.
Growing rejection of invasion
But the recent results are consistent with previous polls showing growing rejection of the invasion of Ukraine. Another poll from Russian Field in December found that about half of Russians wished Putin’s war would end in the new year. The Russian president is also receiving increasing opposition from the wives of soldiers who have to fight at the front.
Russian police arrested at least twenty journalists on Saturday during a demonstration on Red Square of wives of soldiers who have to fight in Ukraine. The women demand the return of their husbands from the front.
A video journalist from the French news agency AFP, who was also arrested, says that about 20 to 25 journalists, including foreigners, were with her in a cell car that drove to a police station in the capital.
The poll results were published on Thursday, about six weeks before the next Russian presidential election. Anti-war candidate Boris Nadezhdin (60) wants to challenge Putin during those elections. He collected all the necessary signatures for this.
But the Russian electoral commission, which must give the green light for this, has found “errors” in his candidacy. “When we see dozens of people who are no longer alive and yet signed, we wonder about the ethical standards used,” Nikolai Bulayev, the deputy chairman of Russia’s electoral commission, said on Friday.
LOOK. Russians line up to support anti-war candidate
The 60-year-old opposition candidate rejected the accusations. “You and I are more alive than anyone,” he wrote on Telegram alongside several photos of people lining up to support his candidacy. Earlier on Friday, he had reiterated that he would go to court if the electoral commission rejected his candidacy. He must report to the electoral commission on Monday. On Wednesday, it will announce which candidates can officially participate in the Russian presidential elections from March 15 to 17.
There must be peace and freedom in Russia. What we call the special operation here must be ended
“There must be peace and freedom in Russia. What we call the special operation here must be ended,” Nadezhdin said earlier. “It is unacceptable that tens of millions of people in Europe are suffering and it is terrible that so many people are dying.”
LOOK. Putin’s only challenger has collected the necessary signatures
But more than half of respondents in the Russian Field poll, which published work this week, said their interests were “best” represented by the current president. Nadezhdin came second, but the margin was wide: only 2.3 percent of voters said the opposition candidate best represented them.
The March 2024 election is currently seen as a formality for Putin, who has been in power for almost a quarter of a century. In theory, the Russian head of state can remain in power until 2036, the year he turns 84.
PORTRAIT. “He will rot in jail.” Is Boris Nadezhdin a real challenger to Putin after all? (+)
ANALYSIS. Are these protests the beginning of the end for Putin? “It also started like this in the Soviet Union” (+)
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