An article by Sidney Wertimer Professor of Government Sharon Werning Rivera was recently published in an issue of Russland–Analysen that was devoted to research on Russian elites.
Titled “Ansichten der russischen Eliten zu militärischen Interventionen im Ausland [The Views of Russian Elites on Military Intervention Abroad],” the article is based on new data collected in 2020 by the Survey of Russian Elites, a project directed by Rivera with support from the Levitt Center and National Science Foundation.
Rivera contends that one way to assess how Russia’s policy toward Ukraine might change after President Vladimir Putin leaves office is to examine the attitudes of those holding positions a few notches below the top leadership, i.e., the elite sector. She says these are individuals at the apex of their professions who may be in a position to move into governing circles in the future.
In her analysis of trends from the SRE, Rivera found that elites exhibit a nuanced combination of preferences on issues pertinent to the ongoing war in Ukraine. Although overall approval of the use of Russia’s military outside its borders is higher than it has been in decades, the data showed that support for the unification of Ukraine with Russia is weak, as is approval of military adventurism that comes at the expense of domestic improvements.
Rivera was also interviewed about her findings for an article appearing in Die Welt, a national German newspaper, in March.