Russian Anxiety Has Doubled As Putin’s War Causes Stress, Study Suggests

Russian Anxiety Has Doubled As Putin’s War Causes Stress, Study Suggests

Over the past year, the amount of anxiety expressed on Russian media and social media has more than doubled, largely because of the war in Ukraine, according to a new investigation.

The study was conducted by the Public Relations Development Company (PRDC), a Russian communications firm founded in 1995.

It concluded that the number of anxious comments posted on media and social media in Russia increased by 119 percent compared to 2021, and 273 percent compared to 2020.

Russian troops launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24, but were repulsed from Kiev. They have since retreated from Kharkiv and pulled out of Kherson in a series of humiliating defeats.

Ukrainian artillery fires at the Russian army
Troops from Ukraine’s 59th brigade fire on Russian forces on the front line near Donetsk, Ukraine, on December 23, 2022. The ongoing war has contributed to a doubling of anxiety expressed on Russian social media, according to a new report.
Pierre Crom/GETTY

On September 21, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a partial mobilization to call up 300,000 more men into the army.

The PRDC research found the war, euphemistically called a “special military operation” by the Russian state, is now the top social media concern in 70 of Russia’s 85 regions, and is in the top three in 83 of they.

The second biggest concern was inflation, which has risen across Russia since the invasion was launched.

According to Ukrainian newspaper Ukraine Pravdasays the report: “The main source of anxiety among Russians in the outgoing year was the special [military] operation, as well as related topics: escalation of the conflict with the West and possibility of the use of nuclear weapons, sabotage and possible transfer of hostilities to the territory of the ‘old’ oblasts of Russia, and partial mobilization.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry has been contacted for comment.

On Monday, a suspected drone struck Russia’s English-2 air base, more than 350 miles from Ukrainian-held territory, killing three servicemen, according to the Russian Defense Ministry.

The ministry said the drone was successfully brought down by air defenses, but that fragments of it killed three men on the ground. However, a number of pundits on social media have questioned whether it was actually intercepted, after video emerged purporting to show the incident.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Sunday that Russia would try to make the rest of 2022 “dark and difficult” in a video message to his nation.

He said: “Russia has lost everything possible this year. But [Putin] trying to compensate for his losses with the cunning of his propagandists after missile attacks on our country, on our energy sector.

“There are a few days left in this year. We must be aware that our enemy will try to make this time dark and difficult for us.

“I know that the darkness will not prevent us from leading the occupiers to their new defeats, but we must be prepared for any scenario,” he continued.

The Russian military recently pounded Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, leaving millions without power amid freezing temperatures.

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