Fascinating new survey evidence sheds light on why Russians back their government’s policies on Ukraine, and nationalism is far from the whole story. New survey evidence indicates that this is not so much a product of a surge in Russian nationalism, which has actually remained rather stable since the pre-crisis period. Instead, it has much more to do with a stunningly widespread Russian view that Ukraine as it has existed since 1991 is simply not legitimate as a state within its present borders and with its present government.
The findings come from a nationally representative survey of 1,200 adult respondents conducted during Nov. 5-18, 2014, by Russia’s ROMIR survey agency as part of the University of Oslo’s project Nation-building, nationalism and the new "other" in today's Russia (NEORUSS), led by principal investigators Pål Kolstø and Helge Blakkisrud.
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