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Younger Russians Oppose Invasion But Putin Narrative Dominates, New Lord Ashcroft Poll Finds


Most Say Ukraine Resistance Stronger Than Expected

Most Russians support the “special military operation” in Ukraine and have a favourable view of Vladimir Putin, but those aged 18-24 oppose the invasion and are more sceptical towards the Kremlin line, according to a new survey from Lord Ashcroft Polls.

The poll of 1,007 Russians, conducted by telephone from a neighbouring state between 11 and 13 March, also finds that Russians most blame the US and NATO for the conflict, and believe Crimea, Donetsk and Luhansk should be part of Russia. However, most say they are feeling the effect of sanctions, and nearly half say Russia’s reputation has been damaged in recent years. The findings include:

– 76% said they supported the special military operation, with 57% doing so strongly. However, most (53%) said Ukraine seems to be resisting more strongly than they would have expected.
– 91% said Crimea should be part of Russia; 68% said the same of both Donetsk and Luhansk.
– 79% said NATO expansion was a threat to Russian security and sovereignty, and 81% said the invasion was necessary to protect Russia. 67% said it was necessary to “demilitarise and de-Nazify” Ukraine.
– More than half (55%) said sanctions had “started to affect me or people I know”. Nearly one third said they thought life for ordinary Russians had got worse over the last 20 years, and 45% said they thought Russia’s international reputation had been damaged in recent years.
– 85% had a positive view of Vladimir Putin, and 88% of the Russian military. 85% also said they trust Russia’s current leadership to make the right decisions for the country, and 78% said they thought Putin had ordinary Russians’ interests at heart.
– 82% had a favourable view of China, compared to 12% for the US and 8% for NATO. 80% said the US had some or a great deal of responsibility for the war, and NATO 77%; 38% said the same of Russia.
– Those aged 18-24 were the only group more likely to say they opposed the invasion (46%) than supported it (40%). They were much more likely than Russians in general to reject the argument that the invasion was needed to protect Russia or to demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine. A quarter said they had an unfavourable view of Putin (compared to 11% overall) and they were the only group more likely than not to see President Zalensky as Ukraine’s legitimate leader. More than half (54%) said they favoured withdrawing Russian forces from the country.

In his commentary on the poll results, Lord Ashcroft writes:
“A poll from Russia comes with two obvious caveats. First, the Putin regime effectively controls what Russians see and hear about the ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine. Second, with protests crushed and prison terms for spreading of ‘fake news’ about the war, many might be cautious in talking about their views to a stranger. We also know, however, that a crisis can often prompt a surge of national loyalty. However, the survey suggests that Putin has managed to shape Russian opinion strongly in his favour – at least for the time being.”

The full poll results are available at

LORD ASHCROFT KCMG PC is an international businessman, philanthropist, author and pollster. He is a former treasurer and deputy chairman of the UK Conservative Party, and honorary chairman and a former treasurer of the International Democratic Union. Lord Ashcroft has been polling since 2005, both in the UK and internationally, winning a reputation for objective and impartial research and analysis. // // Twitter/Facebook: @LordAshcroft

SOURCE: Lord Ashcroft Polls