Over the past year the amount of anxiety expressed on Russian media and social media has more than doubled, primarily 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 had increased by 119 percent compared with 2021, and 273 percent compared with 2020.
Russian troops launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine on February 24 but were beaten back from Kyiv. They have since retreated from Kharkiv and pulled out of Kherson in a series of humiliating defeats.
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 out of Russia’s 85 regions, and is in the top three in 83 of them.
The second-biggest concern was inflation, which has surged across Russia since the invasion was launched.
According to Ukrainian newspaper Ukrainska Pravda, the report states: “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 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 hit Russia’s Engels-2 air base, more than 350 miles from Ukrainian-controlled territory, killing three servicemen according to the Russian defense ministry.
The ministry said the drone was successfully brought down by air defense, but that fragments of it killed three men on the ground. However, a number of experts on social media have questioned whether it really was intercepted, after video purporting to show the incident emerged.
He commented: “Russia has lost everything possible this year. But [Putin] is trying to compensate for his losses with the cunning of his propagandists following missile strikes 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 has recently been pounding Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, causing millions to go without power amid freezing temperatures.