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    March 31, 2015

    Russians are supportive of the volunteers fighting against Kiev junta


    By Sasha Zhuk

    Translated from Russian by J.Hawk

    The All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) established that a majority of Russians approve of the actions of their compatriots who went to the Donbass as volunteers to support the militia.

    65% of respondents are supportive of the volunteers. 22% have a negative opinion toward supporting the militias. A third of the sample (33%) believes that the volunteers who left Russia to fight on the Donbass are mostly idealists who believe they are fighting a just war. 28% believe that the volunteers are mostly defenders of Russia’s interests. 16% believe they are mercenaries. Only 5% called them adventurers, and 3%--bandits.

    When it comes to supporting a decision by a relative to fight on the Donbass, one part of Russians is supportive (45%), while another part is opposed (45%). The most supportive are men (55%) and the members of the Communist Part of the Russian Federation (53%).

    When it comes to the question whether the Russian government should take measures against citizens who are fighting on the Donbass, more than half (57%) were opposed. One in four (26%) believes they should be rewarded. Only 5% believe that the volunteers ought to be punished.

    Therefore the overall portrait of a Russian volunteer remains a positive one.

    At the same time, one has to admit that 20% with negative feelings is still a lot. According to Andrey Fursov, a historian and the Director of the Center of Russian Studies at the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Research at Moscow State University, some of these 20% are simply poorly informed about the international situation. Others are motivated by their parochial interests, believing that Russia ought to avoid involvement in the Ukraine conflict so as to avoid sanctions.

    “But overall I would like to note that over the course of last several years, even prior to the Ukraine crisis, there was a turn-around in the Russian public opinion. Even those who still believed in it had lost faith in the “good West” myth. The members of the “fifth column” are a separate question, they are simply earning the money they are receiving from abroad.”

    “The aggression of the collective West against Yugoslavia, Syria, Libya…All of that left its mark on how Russians perceive reality. And the events in Ukraine finally demonstrated that the West has adopted an openly anti-Russian position. The West is objectively supporting Nazis and is trying to create a Russophobic state on our border,” Fursov said in an interview with Svobodnaya Pressa.

    According to Fursov, the West is once again trying to use Nazism as a battering ram against historical Russia: “People understand this perfectly well. Moreover, the population of Ukraine’s South East is mainly Russian, who are mentally part of the Russian World. It is not by accident that the anti-Banderite uprising took place in the same areas where the local population offered the staunchest resistance against the Nazis in the Second World War. I think that the support of the militia is due to the fact that our people turned on its historical memory.”

    Other VTsIOM results:

    Have any of our acquantances, friends, or relatives went to the Donbass as volunteers: 7% Yes, 90% No, 3% Couldn’t answer.

    J.Hawk’s Comment: Historically, one of the main weaknesses of the Western powers over the centuries has been the inability to deal with its own motives in an honest, open manner. The West is simply in denial as to what its policies really are. While this may be effective as a “happy pill” for the masses, it also means the policy becomes counter-productive and even self-destructive, because not only do Western governments accidentally push all the wrong buttons that awaken Russia's “historical memory” by acting exactly in accordance with the Russians’ worst fears, but they also telegraph their intent long before it becomes a stated policy. The Russian government had played its role in alerting the Russian public to what was coming. Two years ago such warnings may have seemed alarmist, today they are widely accepted as true.

    Speaking of warnings, two years ago the movie The Battle of Sevastopol would have been prophetic. Now it is merely topical. 

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