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29 Mar, 2022 13:52

Number of French that agree with Moscow on Ukraine revealed

Over half said Moscow had a point, while a third disapproved of silencing Russian media amid the crisis, recent poll shows
Number of French that agree with Moscow on Ukraine revealed

A substantial number of French people remain skeptical about the Western narrative on Russia’s attack against Ukraine and want to hear what Moscow has to say about its actions, results of a new poll released on Monday have shown. More than half of respondents queried by the French Institute of Public Opinion (IFOP) agreed with at least one Russian “hypothesis” of why its attack against Ukraine was justified, the polling firm said in a report.

The most agreed-with argument was that the US and the EU had “encouraged Ukraine to request integration with NATO” to gain leverage in its standoff with Russia. A total of 30% of people polled said this was true, with 29% calling it false.

The argument that the persecution of Russian-speaking Ukrainians by their government had validated Moscow’s military action was accepted by 28% of people and rejected by 31%. The statement that discrimination has been ongoing for years in some parts of the country was backed by 23%, with 32% rejecting it.

Russia’s claim that its national security had to be protected by all means due to NATO’s drive to integrate Ukraine was deemed true by 22% of respondents, while 42% thought it false.

The statement that Ukraine has been ruled by a “junta infiltrated by neo-Nazi movements” sounded truthful to 10% of the people polled. A majority of 53% rejected it.

IFOP remarked that the results demonstrated that “French people [were] far from being impervious to [Russian President Vladimir] Putin’s narrative,” about the Ukraine attack. Euractiv, an outlet specializing in covering EU politics, went further and labeled the five hypotheses as Russian “conspiracy narratives,” without explaining to readers what these actually were.

EU member-states escalated their opposition to Russian messaging since the start of hostilities in Ukraine, including by banning news outlets RT and Sputnik in their jurisdictions. When asked by IFOP whether they approved the decision to ban, 34% of French people said they did not.

CEO of IFOP Helen Lee Bouygues remarked that one could only “deplore the speed with which Russian propaganda has spread … since the start of the war in Ukraine.” She blamed social media and encrypted messaging apps, in particular Telegram, for the lack of public consent to their government’s preferred narrative on Ukraine.