If Putin sends troops to Belarus, don’t expect Russians to applaud

15 Sep 2020

(Monkey Cage) Russians don’t like military adventures in bad economic times, my research finds.

Yesterday, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko met with Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, in Sochi to discuss closer integration. The ongoing political unrest in Belarus — a small country that is politically close to Russia and borders it on its west — has led some observers to speculate Putin might intervene militarily to prevent Belarus’s government from being overthrown.

Putin faces his own domestic problems, with Russia in the middle of a deep recession. Intervention might be popular with the Russian public, just as Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine was. However, as my research shows, this is unlikely: Ordinary Russians don’t like military adventures in bad economic times. [...]

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