48% Of Russians Fear Syrian Conflict Will Lead To World War III

A recent Russian polls revealed something disturbing: according to almost half of the respondents, the deteriorating relations between Russia and the West caused by the ongoing crisis in Syria could develop into a global military conflict. As RT reports, the share of those who see the probability of World War III in the near future as high or very high is now at 48% and those who appraise it as low or very low comprise 42% of Russian society, according to the privately-owned public opinion research center Levada. The remaining 10% of respondents said they couldn’t give a simple answer to the question.

Another question revealed that Russians are skeptical there will be a peaceful solution to the Syrian crisis, with a greater number seeing a non-violent outcome as more likely than not: when poll respondents were asked if they considered it possible that Russia and the West would eventually find a mutually acceptable solution to the crisis, 35% answered that this scenario was likely or very likely. Thirty-nine percent evaluate the probability of such an outcome as low or very low and 26 percent said that they couldn’t answer the question.

Perhaps indicative of Russia's clinical nationalism, just over half, or 52%, of Russians said they approve of their country’s involvement in the Syrian conflict while 26%  said they had a negative or sharply negative attitude to this. Just under a quarter – 23 percent – couldn’t answer the question about their personal view on the subject. Those who thought that Russia should continue the operation and those who thought that airstrikes should be stopped were divided 49 percent against 28 percent respectively, with 24 percent finding the question too difficult to answer.

A similar poll conducted a year ago by the Levada Center showed that over 70% of Russian citizens supported the air operations against IS terrorists in Syria, and almost a half of them agreed that it was right for Russia to support the government of Syria’s democratically-elected President Bashar Assad.

A different poll conducted earlier this month by the state-run research center VTSIOM showed that 73% of Russians believed that Western criticism of the air force’s counter-terrorism operation in Aleppo, Syria, was ungrounded and prejudiced. Only 6 percent said the allegations of wrongdoing on the part of the Russian military have some basis in reality.

Perhaps Russians don't watch CNN?

The poll also found that the level of awareness about the situation in Syria and the Russian Air Force operation against ISIS terrorists there remained fairly high. Russia first deployed an air force contingent in Syria in 2015, after receiving a request for military help from the Syrian government, which is currently battling Islamic State and affiliated groups. Russian war planes began launching airstrikes on ISIS targets in Syria on September 30, 2015. 

Eighteen percent said they were very closely following developments in Syria and 64 percent revealed partial familiarity with the issue. Just under a fifth – 17%– said that they were not interested in news about Syria.