An increasing number of Russians say they are concerned about Western sanctions and international isolation, according to a new survey published by the independent Levada Center pollster.
The West has targeted Russia with several waves of political and economic sanctions following its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and support for separatist forces in eastern Ukraine. The Kremlin has imposed countermeasures, including an import ban on certain foods from the European Union, the United States and other countries.
The percentage of Russians who said they were “very concerned” or “fairly concerned” with political and economic sanctions has jumped to 43 percent over the past six months, up from 30 percent in April, according to a Levada poll published on Thursday.
More respondents also said they were concerned by Russia’s international isolation due to their government’s position on Ukraine — at 43 percent, compared to 29 percent in April.
Despite the increase, a majority of respondents still said they were unconcerned by either sanctions — 56 percent — or isolation — 52 percent.
In comments to the Kommersant business daily, Levada director Lev Gudkov pointed out “dissatisfaction over increasing prices and taxes” as contributing to the shift in opinion.
“People are understanding the authorities’ actions less and less and are increasingly feeling the fear that comes before a war,” Kommersant cited Gudkov as saying.
Levada conducted the poll among 1,600 people in 52 Russian regions between November 22 and November 28.