New study shows life satisfaction among Russians at lowest since invasion and close to ten-year low of pandemic, while military mobilisations saw huge spikes in anti-regime web searches.
A new study analysing online search terms used every day by millions of Russians suggests that – contrary to official data from Russian polling agencies – the invasion of Ukraine did not lead to a national “war rally” in happiness and life satisfaction among the Russian population.
In fact, levels of wellbeing and public morale in Russia may be close to their lowest in a decade, with internet search data revealing a “limited appetite among ordinary Russians for the war”, according to a University of Cambridge report.
Research shows that web searches related to anti-war and anti-Putin sentiment surged during the early invasion, and continued to spike at points of military mobilisation involving mass conscription. This has tapered off since the Kremlin switched to relying on mercenaries and prison recruits.
However, the study also suggests that Western economic sanctions had little effect on Russian households, with the financial situation of consumers and businesses appearing to stabilise rapidly in the spring of 2022.