Original by Maksim Ivanov published by Kommersant.ru; translated from Russian by J.Hawk
Russian Aerospace Forces strikes against the Islamic State are supported by 72% of Russians, according to the Levada Center. A third of Russian citizens supports the operation unconditionally.
Levada Center conducted the first all-Russian survey following the Russian military intervention in the Middle East conflict. The first strikes were launched on September 30, right after the Federation Council gave the President Vladimir Putin permission to use the armed forces abroad.
Some 31% of respondents have a “totally positive” attitude toward the strikes, 41%– “mostly positive”, 10%–“mostly negative”, and 4%–“wholly negative.
Fewer people support strikes by the French air force, with only 65% being supportive, not 72%.
The head of the presidential administration Sergey Ivanov noted earlier than US, French, and Australian operations are not supported by any UNSC resolution, or by a request for military assistance by a country on whose territory they are taking place.
Russia began the operation having received a letter from Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad to Vladimir Putin asking for military assistance.
“Our guys are always better, but the difference is not all that huge, people welcome any action against the Islamic State,” says the Levada Center Deputy Director Aleksey Grazhdankin.
The answers to a number of question make it clear that the supporters of the anti-IS represent a majority. 31% approve “air strikes on IS positions,”, 25% “neither support not condemn”, 22% “don’t fully know what is happening”, 14% “are outraged”, 7% “no answer.” Aleksey Grazhdankin believes that one of the first conclusions is that Russian citizens have begun to perceive Western countries as allies: in any event, 49% of respondents are certain that one could “find a common language on the question of resolving the Syria crisis.”
Except that the views of both the Russian leadership and Russian citizens may diverge from the Western partners’ position. Only 8% believe that Russia “ought to join the Western coalition to combat the IS and the Assad regime,” another 8% “know nothing” about the Syria operation, 47% believe that “Russia ought to support Bashar al-Assad in his fight against the IS and Syrian opposition,” 28% are in favor of non-involvement.