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Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the grounds behind Vladimir Putin’s decision were widely debated. Theories suggest several reasons, including Putin’s nostalgic dream of restoring Soviet imperial glory, Russia’s fears of NATO security threats near their borders. But another explanation may be more prosaic: Putin’s desire to restore his sagging popularity at home by attempting to repeat his 2014 “Crimea” strategy. By annexing territories in Eastern Ukraine, he may have hoped to generate a “rally-around-the flag” effect, boosting his domestic support by appealing to Russian patriotism and nationalism. To examine this thesis, Part I outlines the core concept and what is known in the literature about the size and duration of the rally-around-the flag phenomenon. Part II examines the available time-series survey evidence drawn from a variety of opinion polls in Ukraine, Europe, and Russia focusing on the first 8 months of the war to detect any rally effects associated with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Part III examines the evidence of media effects. Part IV adds robustness tests. The conclusion in Part V summarizes the main findings and discusses their broader implications for understanding the roots of the Russian invasion of Ukraine and its consequences.


Kizilova, Kseniya, and Pippa Norris. "'Rally around the flag' effects in the Russian–Ukrainian war." European Political Science (2023).