Only 150 people have turned up at a demonstration against Russian military involvement in the Syrian war that was sanctioned to gather 300 protesters in Moscow.
The rally that was organised on Saturday by two independent movements, Solidarity and Party of December 5, came after an opinion poll suggested that a large majority of Russians support Moscow’s decision to launch air strikes in Syria.
In the survey conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center on October 3 and 4 in 46 Russian towns, 66 percent of respondents said they fully or conditionally support the decision to use Russian air force in Syria.
Only about 27 percent conditionally or absolutely disapprove of the involvement, according to the poll.
“While the appetite for deploying troops in Syria is low, Russians are increasingly looking to such displays of military might as a substitute for their country’s economic ills and ostracism in the West,” Peter Zalmayev, a Russian affairs expert and director of the Eurasia Democracy Initiative in New York, told Al Jazeera.
Zalmayev said the mood could change, however, if Russia sends ground troops to Syria.
“If that happens and coffins of Russian soldiers, including young conscripts, begin to arrive, Russians will be reminded of the Soviet fiasco in Afghanistan. Their support for further adventurism in the Middle East – especially if the economy doesn’t pick up – will wane,” he said.
Source: Al Jazeera