Press release №2005
12.10.2017
WAR IN SYRIA: WHAT SHOULD RUSSIA DO?

IN BRIEF

  • 79% of Russians follow the situation in Syria, with varying degrees
  • 54% of Russians believe that Russia should continue its military operations in Syria until victory
  • 73% of respondents think that even after the war Russia should provide aid to Syria

The situation in Syria is evolving in the right direction; Russian Airspace Troops have proven to be effective. But Russians are divided in their opinions on whether the military operations should be continued or Russia should withdraw troops.

MOSCOW, October 12, 2017. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the findings of a study of Russian assessments of the situation in Syria.

More than one-third of respondents (79%) are more or less interested in the situation in Syria, however the share of those who follow the developments regularly is only 23%. The overall figure is lower than it was in January this year (87%). The current situation is often referred to as “war” (20%) or “anti-terrorism struggle” (20%)

The public assessments have changed dramatically over a year: the share of those who report normalization of the situation reached 58% in September 2017, compared to 15% in October 2016. 

Russian Aerospace Forces have fulfilled their mission in Syria, according to 78% of citizens; however, 54% say that Russia should go on military operations in Syria till victory (34% oppose them). Those who advocate for further military involvement say that Russia should deal a devastating blow to terrorism and finish what it started. Those who think that Russia should withdraw (34% across sample in general) point to the current losses.

A majority (73%) are in favor of supporting Damask even after the war in the following ways: sending humanitarian aid (75%), providing military (45%) or diplomatic (44%) assistance. Financial assistance is rarely cited 25%).

The VCIOM-Sputnik Russian nationwide survey was conducted on September 29-30, 2017. The survey involved 1,200 Russians aged 18 and over, and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted for the probability of selection and reflect social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 3.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.

The 2015-2016 results are based on household surveys.

Are you personally interested in the situation in Syria? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  X. 2015 XI. 2015 III.2016 VI.2016 X.2016 I.2017 IV.2017 IX.2017
I follow the situation regularly and attentively 22 20 22 18 21 29 22 23
Occasionally, not regularly   46 49 53 42 46 58 60 56
Not interested at all 31 31 24 40 32 13 18 21
Don’t know 1 0 1 0 1 0 0 0
Can you describe in two or three words what is happening in Syria today?  (open-ended question, not more than 3 answers %)
  Total respondents, September 2017
War / military actions 20
Anti-terrorism fight 20
Russia helping Syria 13
War coming to an end 7
 A vast territory was liberated   7
Lawlessness  / chaos 5
Russia-US confrontation   5
Fighting for power 5
Rebuilding from war 5
A Russian general was killed; our soldiers are dying 4
America is bombing Syria/US intervention 3
Innocents are dying 3
Business 1
Poverty / unemployment / hunger 1
Carving-up of the territory 1
Truce 1
Russian military training/ Russian weapons test in Syria 1
Other 2
Don’t know 32
In your opinion, how has the situation in Syria changed lately? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  III.2016 VII.2016 X.2016 IV.2017 IX.2017
The situation is being normalized 48 27 15 39 58
The situation is getting neither better nor worse   27 34 33 31 22
The situation is getting tense, dramatically deteriorating 11 13 34 21 8
Don’t know 14 26 18 9 12
In your opinion, have the Russian Aerospace Forces accomplished their mission in Syria?  (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  Total respondents, September, 2017 Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34- Aged 35-44- Aged 45-59- Aged 60 and over
Definitely yes 37 21 22 38 45 46
Rather yes 41 48 44 43 38 37
Rather not 5 12 7 2 5 3
Definitely not 3 1 5 2 1 2
Don’t know 14 18 22 15 11 12
In your opinion, should Russia get further involved in the war in Syria? (closed-ended, one answer, %)
  Total respondents, September 2017 Aged 18-24 Aged 25-34- Aged 35-44- Aged 45-59- Aged 60 and over
Russia should go on military operations in Syria till victory   54 35 41 53 64 62
Russia has generally accomplished its mission in Syria and should withdraw 34 50 44 39 26 25
Don’t know 12 15 15 8 10 13
In your opinion, why should Russia go on military operations in Syria? Up to three answers  (open-ended question, not more than 3 answers, % of those who think that Russia should go on military operations in Syria)
  Total respondents, September 2017
We need to put an end to terrorism to exclude any threat to Russia 29
We need to finish what we started   25
We need to achieve peace and stability in Syria 13
To help people 10
To defend our interests and to get what we want 10
If we withdraw, everything will come back, and we will lose what we have achieved 7
If Russia withdraws, the U.S. will come to this region 6
If we withdraw, we will show our weakness 4
We need to help them build the country after the war   3
No one but us can do that   3
We have invested a lot of money, now it is not time to go   1
If we withdraw, things will get even worse 1
Troops will get real combat experience 1
Other 3
Don’t know 9
In your opinion, why should Russia withdraw from Syria? Up to three answers  (open-ended question, not more than 3 answers, % of those who think that Russia should withdraw)
  Total respondents, September 2017
Our people are being killed  24
We have plenty of unsolved domestic problems 15
Huge financial losses 14
We have done the biggest part; they can do without us 13
Making wars is bad 7
The war is long-drawn-out 5
We turn other countries against us again 4
We should not have intervened in the conflict from the very beginning   2
One should not interfere in the affairs of  other countries 2
We have not got anything equal in return; no benefit at all 2
A war on our territory may threaten us 1
The mistakes of the Afghanistan campaign should not be repeated 1
Having received aid people start to hope for more help 1
Other countries should provide assistance too   1
Other 1
Don’t know 25
In your opinion, should Russia provide assistance to Syria after the military operations? (closed-ended, one answer, %)  
  Total respondents, September 2017
Definitely yes 26
Rather yes 47
Rather not 12
Definitely  not 7
Other 8
 
What kind of assistance should be provided to Syria? Up to 3 answers (closed-ended, not more than three answers, % of those who consider that after the military operations Russia should still provide assistance to Syria)  
  Total respondents, September 2017
Humanitarian 75
Military and technical 45
Diplomatic 44
Financial 25
Economic 2
Political 2
All above-mentioned 1
Other 3
 
Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!
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