Bashkirova & Partners » Blog » Opinion Polls » Military Operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria

Military Operation of the Russian Armed Forces in Syria

Some time ago the Russian air-space forces commenced combat operations against militants of Islamist groups («Islamic State», «Islamic Front», «Jabhat Al-nusrah»), making part in the civil war in the territory of Syria. Bashkirova and partners Independent Research agency is introducing another research with insight in how Russian people feel about the Russian military forces being used beyond our national boundaries.


Since after the start of the Russian air-space forces operation in Syria, respondents’ judgment could be affected by the media (communicating on the news with great inspiration and optimism), we preferred using the findings of the national representative survey our agency had completed one month before the active developments in Syria incurred – i.e. early September 2015.   


One month ago the most of Russians were concerned about Islamists terrorism, and in September 45% of our people were thinking terrorist attacks against Russia were possible. Moreover terrorists attacks sponsored by jihadist groups active in the territory of Russia, seemed more dangerous than acts of the “Islamic State” fighting in the Middle East.

Despite that extremist movements, involved in the conflict in Syria, did not look a major threat to our respondents, we do not get surprised with the fact that a significant percentage of Russians has perceived the commencing of the Russian air-space military operation in Syria with enthusiasm. This is because meeting the officially declared goal objectives should rescue this country from one of real (and publicly recognized) threats to the national security.


It’s remarkable that one month ago interviewees used to express themselves negatively about combat operations conducted jointly by the US, Saudi Arabia and Turkey against Islamic State. In those who disapprove we find both unhappy with poor effectiveness of the US made coalition’s operation, and people standing up against any involvement of the United States in the standoff with this jihadist grouping force (66%).   


Perhaps a significant part of our people opposes principally any involvement of powers, dominating in the global economy (USA, EU, China, Russia) in conflicts remote from their borders. Early fall 45% of Russians despite their quite patriotic stand, were thinking Russia’s interests should be limited in its territory only. About the same percentage believed this country should defend its interests even in areas far from its physical borders. 

On the other hand, still last summer 45% of respondents thought Russia should cooperate with EU and US on the issue of settlement the conflict in Syria. After the conflict escalation in the Eastern Ukraine and sanctions been imposed on Russia, our people’s attitude towards the USA and EU came to be getting worse rapidly (please see our release from 15th December, 2014 and January 28, 2015). Russians’ response could have been influenced by emotional reaction to some of the US military operations being mentioned.


In our future issues we will surely share with you our analysis of how the Russian public opinion has changed some time after the launch of the Russian air-space forces operation in Syria.


This study was conducted in early September 2015 based on all-Russia random route sample (18+) by means of face-to-face interviews in place of residence. Altogether 1500 respondents in 8 federal districts, 150 settlements, 200 sample points have been surveyed. The sample error makes ± 2,5% by C.I. of 95%.  

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