The Washington PostThe Washington Post

Will Russians continue to support Putin’s war in Ukraine?

By Michael Alexeev and William Pyle

15 Mar 2022 · 4 min read

Western officials worry openly that there are no clear off-ramps to end Russia's invasion of Ukraine. With a protracted and even deadlier war looking ever more likely, will Russians tolerate the invasion's increasing costs? Or will Vladimir Putin, a highly popular autocratic leader for 20-plus years, lose ordinary Russians' support?

As Putin massed a large invasion force at the Ukrainian border in late 2021, polls showed that less than 1 in 10 Russians believed Moscow "should send military forces to fight against Ukrainian government troops." By mid-February, as the Russian military staged massive exercises, another poll - framing the use of force as an effort to repel Ukraine's NATO aspirations - found that 1 in 2 Russians believed force would be justified. A week after the invasion, 58% of Russians reportedly supported the invasion of Ukraine.

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