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Poll reveals Russians’ sentiment on Soviet military presence in Afghanistan, 30 years on

February 15, 12:39 UTC+3 MOSCOW

When asked whether the Soviet Union should have sent troops to Afghanistan, 42% of those polled said no

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Soviet troops coming back from Afghanistan

Soviet troops coming back from Afghanistan

© Viktor Budan, Georgy Nadezhdin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 15. /TASS/. Three-fourths of Russians interviewed by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center know something about the 1979-1989 Afghan war, while almost one-third of the respondents believe the presence of Soviet troops in the country was justified, a poll dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Soviet pullout from Afghanistan showed on Friday.

Knowing and remembering

According to the survey materials obtained by TASS, 77% of those polled know something about that war, 43% of them said they heard of those events from eyewitnesses, while almost every tenth respondent (9%) revealed he (she) had been a witness to those events. Another 25% of those surveyed who know about the war in Afghanistan explained that they read about it. As many as 22% of those polled admitted they knew nothing or little about the armed conflict.

"The older generation is better informed about the war in Afghanistan than young people," the pollster concluded.

It is noteworthy that 72% of the people who took part in the survey said they would not like to learn more about that conflict than they know now. On the contrary, 26% of respondents do want to learn more about the event, with 39% of them aged between 18 and 24.

USSR policy: right or wrong?

When asked whether the Soviet Union should have sent troops to Afghanistan, 42% of those polled said no, while 31% said yes. Another 27% found it difficult to answer the question.

Most of those who back the Soviet leadership’s actions (48%) are young people. Only 29% in three age groups (25-34 years old, 45-59 years old, 60 years and older) and 30% of the respondents aged 35-44 gave similar answers.

Survey method

The poll was conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center on February 13, 2019, with 1,600 Russians aged 18 and above interviewed over the phone. The margin of error does not exceed 2.5% with a probability of 95%.

The Afghan war involving Soviet troops lasted from 1979 to 1989. About 15,000 Soviet soldiers lost their lives during the fighting in Afghanistan. The anniversary of the Soviet troops’ withdrawal from Afghanistan is marked annually on February 15.

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