Recent polls from Levada show that 66% of Russians have a negative view of sanctions, 3% view them positively, and 28% are indifferent. Nevertheless, 60% of Russians feel that their country should maintain a collaborative relationship with the west, while 30% think cooperation should be limited due to the current situation in Ukraine.
Interestingly, as sanctions have increased, the concern towards sanctions has decreased.
Why is this?
As context, it is important to keep in mind that 94% of those following events in Ukraine (about 95% of respondents in Levada polls) say they get their news via TV, 27% friends and family, 18% the internet, 15% radio, 11% social networks and 11% newspapers.
Secondly, most respondents feel the impact of sanctions is restricted to a small group of people.
Thirdly, Russians have very strong opinions on events in Ukraine and who they feel is to blame for events in the south east of the country.
In short, the perception of events in Ukraine, and consequently public opinion surrounding these, is primarily - and significantly so - driven by how these events are reported and framed on TV.
All this also helps to explain why President Putin’s approval is close to an all-time high.
The Levada polls used in this piece can be found here, here and here.