Staunton, Oct. 24 – In words that recall W.H. Auden’s poem, “The Unknown Citizen,” who was for peace when peace was at hand and who went to war when it began, Valery Fyodorov, the head of the VTsIOM polling agency, says Russians will be equally supportive of continuing the war in Ukraine to a victorious end or opening peace talks.
The high level of support for Vladimir Putin and his war, Fyodorov says, reflects the deference of the population to what Putin chooses to do. But his words suggest that they back the war less for their own reasons than because they support him and that if he changed course, they would too (kp.ru/daily/27461.5/4666549/).
That suggests two things, both of which may be critical. On the one hand, it means that Putin is not constrained by war fever in the population as many imagine. And on the other, it also means that the patriotic enthusiasm Putin’s propagandists could change on a dime, or in this case a kopeck, if he changed course.
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