Russian fear has doubled as Putin’s war causes stress, a study suggests

Concerns expressed in Russian media and social media have more than doubled over the past year, mostly over the war in Ukraine, according to a new survey.

The study was conducted by the Public Relations Development Company (PRDC), a Russian communications company founded in 1995.

She concluded that the number of anxious comments posted in the media and social media in Russia had increased by 119 percent compared to 2021 and by 273 percent compared to 2020.

Russian troops launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, but were repulsed by Kyiv. They have since withdrawn from Kharkiv and retreated from Kherson in a series of humiliating defeats.

Ukrainian artillery fires on Russian army
Troops of Ukraine’s 59th Brigade fire on Russian forces on the frontline near Donetsk, Ukraine on December 23, 2022. The ongoing war has contributed to a redoubling of concerns expressed on Russian social media, according to a new report.
Pierre Crom/GETTY

On September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization to recruit another 300,000 military personnel.

PRDC research found that the war, euphemistically dubbed a “special military operation” by the Russian state, is now the top social media concern in 70 of Russia’s 85 regions, ranking in the top three in 83 of them.

The second biggest concern was inflation, which has spiked across Russia since the invasion began.

According to Ukrainian newspaper Ukraine PravdaThe report said: “The main cause of concern among Russians in the past year was the particular [military] Operation, as well as related issues: escalation of the conflict with the West and the possibility of using nuclear weapons, sabotage and the possible transfer of hostilities to the territory of the “old” oblasts of Russia and partial mobilization.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry has been asked for comment.

On Monday, a suspected drone struck Russia’s Engels-2 airbase, more than 350 miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, killing three soldiers, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The ministry said the drone was successfully shot down by air defenses, but fragments from it killed three men on the ground. However, a number of social media pundits have questioned whether it was really intercepted after a video purportedly showing the incident surfaced.

On Sunday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in a video message to his nation that Russia will try to make the rest of 2022 “dark and difficult”.

He commented: “Russia has lost everything possible this year. but [Putin] tries to recoup its losses through the ruse of its propagandists after rocket attacks on our country, on our energy sector.

“There are still a few days left this year. We must be aware that our enemy will try to make this time dark and difficult for us.

“I know the darkness will not prevent us from leading the occupiers to their new defeats, but we must be prepared for any scenario,” he continued.

The Russian military recently shelled Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving millions without electricity in freezing temperatures. Russian fear has doubled as Putin’s war causes stress, a study suggests

Rick Schindler

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