By the Jamestown Foundation, Mar 1, 2023 at 4:00 pm CST
- Internationally and nationally, the consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have been devastating.
- However, despite the loss, Putin would still be devastated if Russia withdraws from the conflict.
- The success of propaganda has helped to garner a large amount of support in the country for war and this is a major factor in the electoral success local politicians have had.
One of the most devastating consequences of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine by Vladimir Putin one year ago should be highlighted: the inability of the Russian president to resolve the current conflict. This fact is underlined by several primary factors.
The war has first caused a remarkable level of support from the Russian people for Putin and the Russian authorities; this was despite the fact that it had steadily declined in the past years (pre-invasion).Radio SvobodaApril 25, 2019, 05:25 Independent sociologists like Lev Gudkov (scientific director at the Levada Center, labelled as “foreign agents” in Russia), admit that the public’s support for war is not very clear but tangible to the authorities.
Gudkov says that around 70% of Russians approve of the war. However, half of the respondents wish the fighting to stop. This is due in part to the fact Russians know the war’s crimes well, but are more comfortable avoiding the ugly truth.Eurasia Review(February 17, 2007). The constant flow of propaganda, which paints a grim future for Russia’s loss of power (Propaganda) is another factor that helps ensure passive support of the war by the majority of people.ReadovkaOctober 6, 2005
According to pro-Kremlin sociologists, the public’s mood is being affected by the absence of stability. They immediately assured the Russian authorities, however, that it “doesn’t affect the ratings of confidence in the country’s leadership, because the prolonged special military operation means prolongation the effects of consolidation of society, and power”.T.me/russica2Retrieved February 6, 2006.
Moscow realizes this and is trying to drag out war while also trying draw entire Russian society into conflict. The creation of initiative and volunteer groups has been promoted at the regional level to assist the mobilize. Even students and schoolchildren are sometimes forced to take part (see EDM28 November 2002. Students are sometimes forced to take over for workers who are mobilized at work in cities. EDMRetrieved February 6, 2006.
Even though all this effort has been made, pro-Kremlin sociologists claim that most Russians remain apolitical. The level of military involvement is also steadily decreasing (T.me/russica2Tuesday, February 4, 2009. According to a Levada Center study, the percentage of those closely following the military operation in Ukraine has declined. Sociologists counter this by arguing that the society is ready mentally to sustain “special military operations” for long periods of time.Levada.ruFebruary 2, 2002.
Overall, although they are a small percentage of the population, radical patriots actively supporting the war are steadily increasing. Massive propaganda, mobilization, and an active policy to involve the population in military efforts, beginning with mandatory war propaganda being taught in schools, facilitate this.Mel.fmAugust 28, 2002. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former political prisoner, noted that these individuals, “whose entire life is now linked to the war,” are Putin’s latest support. This is the second reason Putin can’t end this war because of Putin’s involvement in radical “national patriots”.Twitter.com/MikhailKhodorkovskyRetrieved February 6, 2006.
Third, the increase in beneficiaries. If not the war, then active support. The level of their involvement in war affects not only the ratings of federal, but also local authorities. Experts point out that in face of external enemies, there is a need for a “depoliticization” of social justice ideas. [takes place]It is the transfer of internal socioeconomic issues to international politics, and special military operations as an event that aims at protecting national interests and restoring justice.”T.me/russica2Retrieved February 11, 2009.
Regional political scientists also understand this, and openly acknowledge that support for the [special military operation] “Guarantees votes in elections”, and how that has affected the popularity of certain governorsRussia-rating.ru28 December 2002. Both federal and regional authorities have tried to be as visible as possible when supporting the armed, ready and able to murder Ukrainian citizens.
Russian State Duma representatives propose to involve these officers in teaching in schools in the occupied territory and offer support when they become elected. The deputies regularly update the public on any measures they have taken to help “participants in the” [special military operation]” (Kp.ruJanuary 14, 2007. This policy significantly raises the status and expectations of those returning from war. This creates the fourth reason why it is impossible to end the war: not just the increased number of radical patriots, but also their increasing influence on Russian society.
This can be used to predict a conflict between the politically-minded and aggressive “patriots”, who are returning from war. These people could become too demanding of the rest of society, if they are not treated with impunity or the propaganda cult. The real paradox is that even though the Kremlin knows this, it sees only one solution to the social turmoil: continuing the war against Ukraine. This method will not only help to alleviate the social conflict’s external manifestations, but it will also lead to their worsening. These conflicts are likely to become public within Russia Federation sooner than expected.
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