In November 2023, I conducted a fresh, third, survey of anti-war Russians who remain in the country. The previous ones were conducted in May and November 2022 (see the results in Russia.Post here
). The latest questionnaire partly consisted of previous questions, but new ones also appeared. As in the previous surveys, I asked respondents about how they felt after the announcement of the “special military operation” (SVO), though now the emphasis was on changes in their state of mind over the fairly long period of time since then. Description of the study
As before, the questionnaire was published on Google Forms, and I provided a link to it on my social media, thus using the “snowball” sampling method. Most likely, many of the latest respondents also participated in my previous surveys.
Due to this sampling method, at all stages of the study there were people with similar socio-demographic characteristics. They are residents of the biggest cities, primarily Moscow (this time the share was 66%) and St Petersburg (11%), who completed higher education or are university students. About half are under 40 years old; the other half are 40 or older.
As before, the following professions predominated (percentages are given based on the latest survey): university professors and researchers made up 21%; journalists and editors 11.5%; teachers 11%; culture, literature, art and design workers 10%; psychology and medicine workers 9%. As had been the case before, among the survey participants there were many people from the so-called “helping professions” – those who believe that their work benefits young people, ordinary Russians and society as a whole.
In one respect, the latest survey differed significantly from the previous two: the number of potential participants, especially non-Muscovites, sharply decreased. During the first survey a year and a half ago, 500 anti-war Russians who remained in the country filled out the questionnaire within 24 hours; six months later, 1,300 did it in the same time frame; this time, however, only 330 questionnaires were collected over a few days.
The dampened activity in terms of distribution of and participation in the survey was tangible from the very beginning, so I turned to my friends on social media for explanations. Most of them suggested that people no longer saw the point of participating in such a survey; some are afraid (although the survey is anonymous); they are in a state of apathy and indifference; many had planned to leave Russia and did; others, either out of fear or having been unable to set up a VPN, simply got off social media, primarily Facebook, which was blocked
in Russia at the very beginning of the SVO.
In addition, in the spring of 2022, shortly after the start of the SVO and the first mass wave of emigration – as in the fall of 2022 after the announcement of the partial mobilization and the second wave of emigration – anti-war Russians who remained in the country really wanted to let everyone know that they existed, as they are not represented in the public space, although they are taking action and doing a lot of useful things.