Ukraine crisis: Concerns are also growing in Russia

Status: 01/26/2022 03:56 am

Opinion polls show that the majority of the Russian population blames NATO for the Ukraine crisis. And yet there are growing concerns about a military conflict.

By Christina Nagel, ARD Studio Moscow

There is a headline in Nezavissimaya Gazeta that sums up the Russian perspective quite well: “NATO Responds to Moscow Proposals by Moving Troops East.” Moscow’s proposals mean the list of demands that the Kremlin submitted to the Americans and NATO, with a request for written feedback.

Christina Nagel
ARD Studio Moscow

While the diplomatic struggle over Russia’s demands for security guarantees after the end of NATO’s eastward expansion was still viewed by many as something abstract for experts, this is now changing.

The fact that NATO is moving troops, weapons are being delivered to Ukraine on a daily basis and the British and Americans are withdrawing embassy staff are also fueling concerns in Russia that a military conflict could break out.

votes from the population

It’s a frightening prospect, says 39-year-old accountant Natalja – after all, “simple people – children, families, old people” always suffer in wars. Nothing good can come of it.

And yet there is always someone who starts a conflict, says 29-year-old university employee Gelja, and in this case it’s “definitely not Russia.” Equipment, weapons being shipped to Ukraine, military bases – all of these “appear to appear ‘by accident’ around Russia,” she says. Their conclusion: “Of course, Russia must defend itself.”

The majority blames NATO

A view with which Gelja is not alone. According to a recent survey, only four percent of respondents are convinced that Russia is to blame for a possible conflict, says sociologist Maria Matskevich on the Echo Moskvy channel. In fact, NATO comes first – and by a wide margin.

Half of the respondents were of this opinion. Ukraine follows, then the USA. “They provoke us, they do everything to justify new sanctions, to make us look worse,” is how Matskevich describes the majority opinion.

Which is only briefly in the news

The fact that Russia massively reinforced its troops along the Ukrainian border weeks ago and concentrated technology was rarely reported in the Russian media, which is close to the state. If so, then there was and is talk of concrete maneuvers.

And about the need to be prepared for provocations in the Donbass. The Ukrainian army is preparing an invasion, reports the state-affiliated Russian broadcaster Rossija 24 with reference to the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic.

Acts of sabotage are expected, which will be attempted to be blamed on Russia – a majority of current polls are convinced of that. Then impose new sanctions.

But the Ukraine crisis is already having an impact on trade and the economy. The ruble is weakening. The central bank has suspended its strategic foreign exchange purchases for the time being.

War? Concerns are also slowly growing in Russia

Christina Nagel, ARD Moscow, January 25, 2022 5:25 p.m

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