Sources of information and readiness to go to the front
One’s estimate of Russian losses in Ukraine does affect one’s willingness to go to the front in an intuitive and significant way. Among those who trust the latest official Defense Ministry estimate, given in March, about fewer than 1,500 dead, 38% are ready to be mobilized, while among those who believe that the reality is much uglier the figure halves to 20%. Meanwhile, the percentage of those who aren’t ready to serve among those who believe that Russia lost more than 5,000 soldiers in the war is twice as high (41% versus 20%).
Of course, having military personnel in the family is a significant factor. Besides the 13% who are already serving, another third of men in military families (37%) said they would serve where needed. Meanwhile, in families where no one serves in the security forces, 29% said they wouldn’t fight. In other words, experience with military service within a family – meaning close contact with servicemen – inclines people to fight themselves.
Expectations about how the Ukrainian population will view Russian troops significantly affects people’s readiness to serve. Among those who believe that Russians are met there as “liberators,” or at least neutrally, 38-39% are ready to do the liberating, while the figure drops to just 20% among those who think that Ukrainians view Russian troops as enemies. Meanwhile, within the latter group 43% expressed an unwillingness to serve. In other words, the lower the expectations about how the Russian army will be received in a foreign country, the lower the willingness to fight there.
How long one expects the war to last also significantly influences one’s readiness to be mobilized. Approximately one third (32%) of those who believe that the war will last for several more months are ready to serve abroad, while among those who fear that the war will become protracted a third (31%) said they weren’t willing to serve. Clearly, those who are ready to fight are counting on a relatively short and victorious war. The more pessimistic the assessment of the conflict’s duration, the lower the percentage of those ready to fight in a foreign country.
The attitude toward potential mobilization is also influenced by one’s trust toward information sources. If among those who trust state television the balance of those who are ready versus not ready to serve is 41% to 19%, then among those who don’t trust it the ratio it is 17% to 43%. As one can see,