The Israeli-Palestinian conflict has long been a contentious issue, but a recent opinion poll conducted in Russia reveals that the majority of Russians do not have a strong affiliation with either side. The survey, carried out by Moscow-based pollster FOM, interviewed 1,500 people between October 13 and October 15. The results showed that 73% of respondents said they do not sympathize with either the Israelis or Palestinians, while 10% expressed support for the Palestinians, and 9% favored Israel.
Interestingly, nearly 40% of the respondents were unable to identify the root cause of the ongoing escalation of hostilities in the region. While some respondents blamed Israel (5%) and the Palestinian militant group Hamas (3%), 12% argued that the West was responsible for the bloodshed, and 10% described the crisis as “a territorial conflict.”
The survey also discovered that a majority of Russians (65%) have either not been paying much attention to the conflict or have not been following it at all. This lack of interest may contribute to the overall neutrality and lack of strong opinions among the respondents.
In terms of the Russian government’s position on the conflict, it condemned the October 7 Hamas attack, which allegedly resulted in the deaths of 1,400 Israelis. Consequently, the IDF launched retaliatory airstrikes on Gaza. Moscow has accused Israel of indiscriminately killing Palestinian civilians and has called for an immediate ceasefire. Gazan officials claim that over 8,000 Palestinians have been killed since October 7.
The poll results indicate that despite the Russian government’s condemnation of the Hamas attack and its criticism of Israel’s actions, the general public’s attitudes towards the conflict are more neutral. This divergence in opinion suggests a disconnect between the government’s stance and the views of its citizens.
It is worth noting that Russia has historically played a significant role in mediating the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In recent years, Moscow has hosted various peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders in an attempt to facilitate negotiations and find a lasting solution to the conflict. The results of this poll may present a challenge for the Russian government as it navigates its mediation efforts.
Overall, the survey demonstrates that the majority of Russians do not align themselves with either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This lack of strong opinions among the public poses a unique challenge for the Russian government as it seeks to navigate its role as a mediator in the ongoing conflict.