Moscow War Protests

There is no clear understanding of the motives of the protesters in society, Russian Levada survey

Most Russians have somehow heard about street protests against the “special operation” in Ukraine. The youngest respondents and readers of Telegram channels and online publications are most aware of this. There is no clear understanding of the motives of the protesters in society.

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58% of Russians have heard about the recent protests in Russian cities against the “special operation” (Russian invasion of Ukraine) in Ukraine: 8% have been following the events closely, half have heard something about them. 41% have not heard anything about these demonstrations.

The youngest respondents – 18-24 years old – are the most knowledgeable: 72% have heard about anti-war actions (7% followed closely, 65% have heard something about them). Respondents aged 55 and older are the least familiar with the situation: slightly more than half (51%) of them have heard about the protests, while 48% of them have not heard anything about them.

When distributing respondents by the method of obtaining information, the greatest awareness (80%) is noted among readers of Telegram channels: 15% closely followed the events, 65% heard something about them. The respondents who chose television, print media and “friends, relatives, neighbors” are the least familiar with what was happening as the main way to get information: in these groups, 56%, 57% and 61% heard about protests, respectively.

There is no clear understanding of the motives of the protesters in society.

About a quarter of Russians believe that people go to protest actions because of “indignation at the special operation in Ukraine” (26%), “dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in the country” (25%), “dissatisfaction with the policy of the authorities” (24%). However, a third of respondents (32%) are sure that “many come because they were paid.” Another 14% believe that “many just tag along”

Attention is drawn to the difference in responses depending on the age of the respondents and on the channel of receiving information. Younger respondents who receive news via the Internet (especially via telegram channels) more often see protests as a way to express indignation at the special operation itself and dissatisfaction with the state of affairs in the country. Representatives of older generations, TV viewers and radio listeners are more likely to suspect the participants of the actions that “they were paid for it.”

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The survey by the Levada Center was conducted March 24 – 30 2022, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1632 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys. The data is weighted by gender, age and level of education.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center is included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents.

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