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Vladimir Putin waving its flag in a polarized country that is difficult to change | Ukraine

It is clear that he wanted to portray the invasion of Ukraine as a People’s War, as Vladimir Puttin stood in front of the tricolor sea and tens of thousands of applauding Russians at Luziniki Stadium on Friday. did.

The government adopted the same crude tactics to pack the stadium to simulate long-standing patriotism, so I was concerned about independent media reports that state employees and college students were taken by bus for a rally. please do not.

There was still some truth in the elaborate theater of the Friday rally. Within Russia, both polls and anecdotal evidence show that a significant portion of the population has chosen to support the invasion of Ukraine. Special operation “.

Yegor Gusiev, 35, who runs an auto parts business in the Moscow region, said, “I support it. Virtually everyone I know, my friends, all do it. I support it. ” .. “

What about the bombing scenes in Mariupol and Kharkov and the fact that Russia, which was once unthinkable, has launched a full-scale war on its neighbors?

“Of course it’s sad. I don’t want people to die,” he said. “But I had no other choice. [besides the invasion]… A mistake will occur. But I know that the other side is also using propaganda against us. It’s all propaganda. “

There have been foreign efforts to encourage Russians to protest the war. Former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger released a nine-minute video last week reminding him of his praise to Soviet weightlifter Yuri Urasov and his shame in his father’s fight. “This is not the Russian People’s War,” Leningrad’s Nazi army appealed to ordinary Russians.

But other people in Russia say so. Many supporters cite the eight-year-old war between Ukraine and the Russian deputy army in Donbus to justify the aggression, using words such as comparisons with genocide and World War II. I am.

As one of the former diplomats wrote in a WhatsApp message, he is looking forward to Russia hosting “Nuremberg 2.0” in postwar Ukraine. A view on the aggression. “Why don’t you write about them instead?”

Russian society is deeply polarized between Kremlin supporters and opponents. Experts said these camps continued this division and supported and opposed the war. Even the simple choice of calling a conflict a “war” or a nation-authorized “military operations” have political implications.

Sociologist Sergei Belanovsky said, “We recognize that society is divided into a majority that widely supports war and a minority that opposes it.” It’s correct. “

Vladimir Putin appears in front of flag-waving supporters at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow. Photo: Ramil Sitdikov / Sputnik / EPA

According to the state-run Russian Opinion Poll Center, 71% of Russians “support Russia’s decision to conduct a special military operation in Ukraine.” Valerie Fyodorov, head of the polling center, will show increased support for “military operations” during the week.

These results are skeptical to reinforce the image of the mass war that Kremlin supports, but the independent Levada Center Dennis Volkov also supports the data, and the results of a state pollster are “my. In my opinion, I’m completely credible. ” .. Russia’s leading independent pollster, the Levada Center, has not published polls on war since the beginning of the conflict. Plans to publish the results of previous polls said their results “in some way promote the intensification of conflict.” Mr. Volkov said the group is currently conducting a new poll.

However, some question the logic of conducting polls in countries where information about war is carefully selected by state television. Ukrainian Nazis. A lot of important information has been withheld, “Belanovsky said.

Others said the Russians were simply afraid to tell pollsters that they were against the war.

“It is difficult to conduct a survey in an authoritarian country. Russian respondents believe that the survey is conducted by the government. Respondents will be less likely to find it easy to speak, especially during the war. “Sociologist Grigory Eudin said.

According to his research, Eudin has been less willing to talk to pollsters since the beginning of the war and is willing to answer questions about Ukraine compared to 33% when the invasion began. Said that only 25%.

“In my own opinion, I believe that a much smaller group is actively in favor of the war and is actively militarized,” said Eudin. “The group exists and is of concern. But not the majority. “

Opponents of the war were astonished by their aggressive efforts to generate support for the aggression. When Putin appeared on Friday, the banner “For a World Without Nazism” had the letter Z, the tactical mark used on Russian tanks in Ukraine. Activists also found letters scribbled in white paint at their doorways to intimidate them.

“Personally, it’s fascism, something I never imagined would happen … nothing else,” said OVD, who is monitoring the arrests of nearly 15,000 protesters and others. -Daniil Beilinson of the Info group said. The pressure faced by anti-war activists.

There was little organic surge in patriotism to indicate that Russia annexed Crimean in 2014. Until Friday, the eighth anniversary of the annexation, the Kremlin did not hold a mass rally in support of the war, and many Russians began to concentrate. “When I try to compare the situation in 2014 with the current situation, support remains, but happiness disappears,” he said.

However, the unprecedented sanctions introduced by the West, which could reduce the country’s GDP by as much as 20%, did not oppose the Kremlin. In convincing the Russians that the “hostile” West is acting against their interests, “Belanovsky explained.

The Russian ruble has already sunk to record lows, but experts claim that it will take several months for ordinary Russians to feel the full power of sanctions. Economists are predicting. Then the Russians may start asking Putin questions, “sociologists said.

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