"Mirror of Russia" - The Sixth Wave (June 2023)

Russians believe that Ukraine itself blew up the Kakhovka dam and frequently discuss among each other the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

The Institute for Conflict Studies and Analysis of Russia (IKAR) conducted a monthly sociological survey called "Mirror of Russia". The sixth wave was conducted on a nationwide sample during June 7 -June 21, 2023. The survey’s methodology is the CATI method (Computer Assisted Telephone Interview), a telephone survey using interactive structured questionnaires using special software for sociological surveys. A total of 1,600 respondents were interviewed.

Main results of the sixth wave of the survey:

1. More than three-quarters (79%) of Russian citizens would not support the decision to blow up the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to slow down the advance of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. 7% of respondents support such a step.

2. At the same time, it's important to note that the majority of Russians (65%) believe that Ukraine itself blew up the Kakhovka dam. Only 5% believe that Russia did it, and another 5% think the dam collapsed on its own. The reluctance of Russian citizens to acknowledge Russia's responsibility for blowing up the Kakhovka dam can likely be extrapolated to their unwillingness to recognize any responsibility in case of a possible accident at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.

3. Only 14% of Russians believe that their country should participate financially in restoring Ukraine's destroyed infrastructure under any circumstances. At the same time, 54% believe that the Russian Federation should finance the restoration of Ukraine only on its occupied territories. Another 19% agree with this only in case of the occupation of the entire Ukrainian territory. This data correlates with the results of an April survey when about three-quarters of Russians spoke out against paying reparations to Ukraine after the war.

4. Russian society frequently discusse the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces: 24% of respondents discuss it with their close ones and acquaintances every day, and 18% several times a week. At the same time, 16% do not talk about it at all. Meanwhile, 33% stated that they are afraid of the counteroffensive of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, and 52%, on the contrary, are not afraid of it.

5. In case of a successful counteroffensive by the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Russians comparatively more often (38%) spoke about the need of starting peace negotiations with Ukraine. Among other options for Russia in case of a successful Ukrainian offensive, the most frequently mentioned were: 20% believe that “Special Military operation” should be continued without any changes, another 20% advocate for shifting the country's economy to a war footing, 17% consider it necessary to carry out a new wave of partial mobilization.

6. Only 14-15% of Russian citizens have not heard about drone attacks on the territory of Russia and, in particular, against Moscow. The remaining respondents either know about it in detailed manner (32%) or are at least partially informed (54%). Russians name the Russian Ministry of Defence, Russian air defence forces, and the local authorities, as responsible for allowing such attacks. At the same time, every fifth respondent believes that no one should be blamed.

7. Support of possible military aggression against the Baltic countries has remained virtually unchanged among Russians over the past six months. Only 14% would not support the so-called "SMO" against Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia under any circumstances. Whereas 52% would support it in case of an attack by the Baltic countries on Russia, 23% would support it in favour of the Russian-speaking population being oppressed in these countries. Another 18% would consider recognition of the Baltic countries' regimes as Nazi by Russia as such a reason.