(FiveNation.com)- According to the most recent television viewership statistics, Russian audiences might be sick of seeing war-related programming on state-run media.
A recent survey by the independent Rosmir polling center found that a quarter of Russian viewers are turning their TVs off to avoid the Kremlin’s pro-war propaganda on state-run stations like Channel-1, Rossiya-1, and NTV, according to a report from The Moscow Times, an independent online newspaper now based in Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Six months after the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24—or, as it is known in Russia, “the special military operation” in Ukraine—only 65% of survey participants claimed they were still watching state-run TV.
Compared to the 86 percent of respondents who indicated they were watching state-run TV stations at the beginning of the war, this is a significant decrease.
Since the start of the conflict, Russia’s state-run TV networks and their pro-Kremlin hosts and guests have been promoting Vladimir Putin’s stance on the conflict in Ukraine, defending the justification for Moscow’s military intervention there, and blaming the international community and Western nations for fostering a pervasive anti-Russian sentiment.
Since the start of the conflict, TV hosts and guests have also threatened Western nations who have supported Ukraine, frequently admonishing Russia to respond by firing nuclear weapons at the West and Ukraine if provoked.
The understanding is that those discussing the war on state-run stations have Putin’s ideological approval, even though none of these claims have been officially backed by the Kremlin. The government-affiliated channels are thought to be the president’s primary method of reaching and influencing the Russian public’s opinion.
The decrease in support for the war reinforces the assumption that nonstop pro-war propaganda on Russia’s state-run networks has worn out listeners.
According to opinion surveys from The Moscow Times, only 55% of Russians support the war, down from 66% a few months before. As many respondents might be concealing their genuine opinions out of fear of repercussions from the government, these statistics might not accurately reflect the level of public support for the war in Russia.
A sense of unhappiness with the administration could also be caused by the overall war fatigue in Russia and the severe effects of Western sanctions, which have made life in Russia much tougher and more expensive.
However, it’s difficult to gauge how Russians genuinely feel about the conflict and their leadership. According to a Levada Centre poll conducted in May, Putin still enjoys high support at home, receiving 88 percent of the vote.
On the other hand, Putin has become the least popular leader in the world, according to a global poll conducted in June by the Pew Research Center, which included respondents from 18 different countries.