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Media: Russian search trends show increased interest in supporting military

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 1, 2023 1:52 PM 2 min read
Thousands of people gathered at the Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on Feb. 22, 2023, for a pro-Putin rally marking 'Defender of the Fatherland Day' as well as the first anniversary of Russia's military invasion of Ukraine. (Contributor/Getty Images)
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Search requests in Russia for "assisting (the war)" on Russia's search engine giant Yandex were seven times higher in October 2023 than last year, Ukrinform reported on Nov. 1, citing the Brand Ukraine organization.

Although not all of the increase in searches concerned direct support, there was a notable rise in requests about how to help Russian soldiers, including how to buy drones and other materials for the war effort.

Ukrinform said this sharp growth in public support may reflect the impact of heightened Russian propaganda aimed at its own populace.

Almost two years after the beginning of the full-scale invasion, there are numerous signs that a majority of Russians still continue to support the war.

A poll released by the Moscow-based Levada Center on Oct. 31 found that most Russians would not support ending the invasion of Ukraine if it meant the withdrawal from Ukrainian territories currently occupied by Russia.

According to the survey, only 34% of Russians would support President Vladimir Putin if he decided to end the invasion and return occupied territories to Ukraine.

However, 70% of respondents said they would support Putin’s decision to end the invasion of Ukraine, without the caveat about returning territories.

In general, the Levada Center found that "the level of support for the actions of the Russian Armed Forces in Ukraine remains high."

Almost 70% of respondents want Vladimir Putin to be re-elected in the 2024 presidential election, according to another Levada Center poll conducted in July 2023.

A poll released in May 2021 by the Levada Center found that 86% of Russians consistently supported the illegal seizure of the peninsula, a figure that has only "slightly fluctuated" since 2014.

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