Poll: The main share of Russian supporters in Kazakhstan is over 60, young people are for Ukraine

A third of people in Kazakhstan are largely influenced by Russian propaganda of a war of aggression

From November 4 to November 24, 2022, the DEMOSCOPE Express Public Opinion Monitoring Bureau conducted the second survey of citizens on the topic of What People In Kazakhstan Think About The War In Ukraine.

The survey was conducted through telephone interviews among mobile subscribers in Kazakhstan. The basis of the sample was the pool of telephone numbers obtained using a random number generator. A total of 1,110 respondents over 18 were interviewed. 75% preferred to answer in Russian, 25% answered in Kazakh. At the same time, 61% of respondents are Kazakhs, 24% are Russians and 15% are representatives of other ethnicities. The data are scaled by gender, age and ethnicity of the respondents. The maximum size of the error with a probability of 95% does not exceed 3%. The response rate was 16%.

According to the study by the DEMOSCOPE Bureau, the proportion of respondents who support Ukraine in the conflict with Russia is 22%. This is two times higher compared to a similar survey conducted in March this year.

While the share of those who support Russia is 13%, which is significantly lower than in March. At the same time, most people in Kazakhstan (59%) prefer to remain neutral*.

Probably, several factors and events both within Kazakhstan and directly in the context of the war could have influenced the people’s opinion. However, in order to confirm the increase in the trend of support for Ukraine in Kazakhstan society, it is necessary to conduct a similar study in a few months.

Significantly, young people aged 18 to 29 speak out in support of Ukraine much more often. In this group, the proportion of supporters of Ukraine is 4 times higher than those who support Russia – 23% and 6%, respectively. There are more supporters of Ukraine in almost all age groups, except for representatives of the 60+ generation. In this group, more than a third of respondents (34%) support Russia, while only 14% support Ukraine.

An important aspect that was studied during the study is the interpretation by people in Kazakhstan of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The survey shows that most citizens (45%) in the country find it difficult to assess what is happening. At the same time, the results of the DEMOSCOPE survey showed that a total of 33% share the position broadcast by the Kremlin:

  • 15% of respondents are convinced that Russia is conducting a special military operation against the Nazis in Ukraine.
  • 18% believe that Russia is at war with Western countries and NATO on the territory of Ukraine.

At the same time, 22% are convinced that Russia is waging war against Ukraine with the aim of its occupation and further annexation.

Thus, at least a third of the citizens of Kazakhstan are largely influenced by the propaganda of an aggressive war, which, we recall, is prohibited by both Kazakhstan and international law.

At the same time, the survey showed that Kazakhstan society retains a rather high interest in the events in Ukraine. According to DEMOSCOPE, almost half of the participants (44%) follow the situation in Ukraine from time to time; 18% follow the news almost every day, and 38% do not follow.

At the same time, YouTube channels turned out to be the main sources of information about the war in Ukraine. They are preferred by 37% of respondents. One fifth learn news from Kazakhstan TV channels. 18% receive information about the war in Ukraine from Russian TV; 15% – from acquaintances, relatives, and friends. 13% prefer Telegram channels, and 8% Facebook.

It is important to note that television, including Russian television, is mainly preferred by people over 60. Whereas younger respondents choose Internet resources.

Typically, in the matter of predicting the outcome of the war, more than half of the citizens (53%) believe that the parties will come to a compromise. 11% think that Russia will win. 7% believe that Ukraine will win.

42% of citizens believe that Kazakhstan in the current situation should act as a peacemaker and call on the parties to negotiate. 37% are convinced that the country should remain neutral and not interfere in the conflict. An insignificant part of citizens believes that it is necessary to support one of the parties to the conflict: 4% voted for Russia and 3% for Ukraine.

After the beginning of the invasion of Russian troops into Ukraine, there are fears in the society about the possibility of a Russian attack on Kazakhstan. According to DEMOSCOPE, most citizens (73%) are convinced that such a scenario is impossible. It is significant that the respondents over 60 tend to adhere to this position.

Only 8% of people in Kazakhstan consider such a forecast possible. At the same time, a fifth of citizens (19%) admit such a possibility, but under certain circumstances. Most often, young people aged 18 to 29 speak about the possibility of such a scenario: 9% answered “possibly”, 27% chose “possibly under certain circumstances”.

The study also covered the topic of mass migration of Russians to Kazakhstan. The DEMOSCOPE survey data showed that there is no dominant opinion on this issue in the society. In total, 38% of respondents do not support the mass migration of Russians. 27% are loyal to the forced migrants. And 22% of citizens are indifferent to this process.

The vast majority (77%) of those who support migration do so out of humanitarian considerations, as they are sure that people should receive help in a difficult situation. It is interesting that the share of women significantly prevails in this issue (more than 86%).

Only 12% prefer pragmatic reasons.

Thus, 8% perceive migrants as potential personnel for the country: the problem of the lack of qualified personnel is being solved. Only 4% perceive the arrived Russians as a source of income: “migrants spend their money in Kazakhstan.”

Those who are against the migration flow from Russia name mainly two reasons. One of them is the increase in prices for rental housing, services and products (31%). It is characteristic that mostly (47.3%) young people (18-29 years old) think so.

The second reason for skepticism towards visitors is a potential threat: hypothetically, there may be supporters of the “Russian world” among the migrants. This position is also shared by 31%, mostly citizens aged 40 to 60. Only 4% are afraid that migrants create competition for local specialists.

The results of the DEMOSCOPE survey demonstrate a very strong polarization of opinions in Kazakhstani society. Obviously, this problem is exacerbated by the information war. At least a third of Kazakhstanis are largely exposed to Russian propaganda and disinformation. At the same time, at least a fifth of citizens consume the content of Russian TV channels.

Press release and infographic in Kazakh, Russian and English are available here. Link to the website is obliged using the material. 

*It is important to note that the results of the two surveys cannot be directly compared, as the methodology of the surveys is different.

Methodology: From November 4 to November 24, 2022, 1,110 people in 17 regions and cities of republican significance (Astana, Almaty, Shymkent) were interviewed. The survey was conducted in Kazakh and Russian by phone calls to mobile numbers. The survey involved 55% of men and 45% of women over 18. The basis of the sample was the pool of phone numbers obtained using a random number generator. The data are scaled by respondents’ gender, age and ethnicity. For this sample, the maximum size of the statistical error with a probability of 95% does not exceed 3%. The telephone survey was carried out by the KT Cloud Lab LLP Contact Center.

The project is implemented by MediaNet International Centre for Journalism Public Foundation with the support of Konrad Adenauer Foundation. The survey data reflects the views of the respondents. For more information, please contact Snezhana Tsoy: snezhana.tsoy@medianet.kz.

What People in Kazakhstan Think about the War in Ukraine

Perception and Spreading of Disinformation in Kazakhstan Media and on Social Networking Sites.