Who Do Russians Support in Karabakh War 2020?

FOM poll: 12% with Armenia, 2% with Azerbaijan, 71% with neither/equally.

Armenophilia tends to increase with:

  • Higher education
  • Wealth
  • Muscovites

But the effects aren’t that big.

Probably the single most interesting result is that Azerbaijan doesn’t enjoy elevated sympathy in neither the North Caucasus (10% pro-Armenia, 0% pro-Azeri) nor in the Volga region (11% pro-Armenian, 1% pro-Azeri), as one might naively expect from religious/ethnic factors.

This is relevant because the latter, which contains DICh, would be the focal point of any broad Islamic-oriented support for Azerbaijan (very broad, because Azerbaijan is a secular Shi’ite state, whereas the “problematics” within DICh are Sunni fundamentalists), whereas the former, which contains Volga Tatars and some other Turkic peoples, would be the focal point of any ethnonationalist Turkic-oriented support for Azerbaijan.

But in neither case does it seem to make a statistically noticeable difference, in fact both regions are more pro-Armenian than the average. (Though this in turn is probably a statistical artifact of low samples than anything real).

There are good reasons for Russia to extend some degree of aid to Armenia to prevent the conquest of Artsakh. But Armenian scaremongering about Turks weaponizing Dagestanis or Volga Tatars against Russia probably don’t come into that equation.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. AnonFromTN says

    Sounds about right: 12% for Armenians, 2% for Azeris, 71% for neither. Then again, Pashinian can congratulate himself that 12% still retain warmer feelings for Armenians. BTW, while the support for Azeris appears to be mostly by Azeris living in Russia, there are ~3 million Armenians living in Russia, which constitutes ~2% of the population, so the other 10% rooting for them are not Armenians.

  3. Blinky Bill says

    But Armenian scaremongering about Turks weaponizing Dagestanis or Volga Tatars against Russia probably don’t come into that equation.


  4. Shortsword says

    Is there any pan-Islamists in North Caucasus? From my impressions they seem to embrace Islam because of regional tribalistic reasons rather than because they want to be part of some greater Islamic identity.

  5. Philip Owen says

    Volga Tatars like their vodka, not that the Azeris are very religious either.

  6. Currently, the government policy is neutrality, so the polls reflect a neutrality as this is the “correct response”, to the extent that people are following about the war.

    Much of the liberals and pseudoopposition media (Echo of Moscow, Dozhd) in Russia, has been supporting Armenia, although there is some more mainstream kremlinbot Vladimir Solovyov who is also supporting Armenia.

    But of course, a vast proportion of people, are not following the topic, and the above is a small proportion of media.

    Karlin’s blog reports a lot of information from opinion surveys.

    However, opinion surveys about such unimportant (from local perspective) topic, mostly reflect whatever the media’s official opinion the person was exposed to. Most people are trying to answer the “correct response” or “official response”, rather than their own opinion.

    If the government chooses to support one side in the future and promoted, then the opinion survey would some days later measure a very significant change of support for whichever side government chooses.*

    • For example, looking at enemy countries table for the attitude to Turkey, in Levada Centre’s annual friends and enemies rankings.

    In 2015, only 1% of respondents say Turkey is a historically arranged top 5 enemy country. In 2016 (after events in Syria), 29% of respondents, say Turkey. In 2017, 8% say Turkey. And in 2018, 3% of respondents.


    Between 2015 to 2018 – from 1%, to 29%, to 8%, to 3%. “Opinion surveys” are completely, fickle depending on the official view, as we see with the fall of Turkey as an enemy country in the survey from 29% to 3%.


  7. Belarusian Dude says

    There are some. For most it is indeed just a way to separate themselves from other races but funny things happened in the 80s-90s, many genuine jihadists abide there

  8. “… North Caucasus? From my impressions they seem to embrace Islam because of regional tribalistic reasons rather than because they want to be part of some greater Islamic identity.”

    I’m not especially knowledgeable about the area but doesn’t that hit you as being a strange characterization of the place that has been the major producer and exporter of international jihadist fighters, ever since the Chechen war? Besides, the widespread fanaticism of the whole area, in stark contrast to Soviet times, is absolutely mind-blowing.

  9. Boomthorkell says

    I think it’s the case that, initially, it was tribal and nationalist (and still definitely has that flavor), but with the funding and support from Wahhabist Saudi Arabia and the CIA, et al. from the ’80s onwards, the native Muslim-Caucasian radicals took on a more international jihadist framework and mindset.

    I mean, even in old days, they still made appeals to the wider (Sunni) Islamic world for help, but now they are the ones doing the community outreach, ha ha. Well, they tried. I think most of the Caucasians involved in modern middle eastern conflicts were coming from various western European countries they had emigrated to, considering how well Russia cleaned up house in the region.

    I’m not sure if Kadyrov as tribal vassal with large federal stipends is a sustainable model, but I guess short of shipping them all back to Central Asia and resettling with Cossacks, it works.

  10. The Spirit of Enoch Powell says
  11. Дима Трамп says

    What’s the relationship between Turkey moving jihadis from Syria into Azerbaijan, and the increase in the terror attempts inside Russia a couple of weeks after Turkey did that.

  12. 4Dchessmaster says

    While I think an eye should be kept on Turkey, I do agree that Dagestanis and Volga Tatars are not going to rise up anytime soon. Like I’ve said before, Turks from Turkey overestimate their popularity and appeal in the wider Islamic and/or Turkic worlds. Most people don’t care about Erdogan aside from Pakistanis with an identity crisis.

  13. Дима Трамп says

    The Daghestanis have been involved in a low intensity insurgency against Russia for over 20 years now.

  14. Karlin’s blog reports a lot of information from opinion surveys.

    Yes, I’ve noticed that. There is an apt American joke about polls:
    It was discovered that an average length of dick in Shitville is twice that in nearby Dungville. The first number was obtained by polling, whereas the latter by actual measurements.

  15. 4Dchessmaster says

    I was not aware of that, but I can imagine that it is not anywhere near the threat some people make it out to be.

  16. AnonFromTN says

    it is not anywhere near the threat some people make it out to be.

    It sure isn’t. Dagestan has more than ten different nations that speak different languages. All North Caucasus “nations” (some counting a few hundred people) hate everyone, most passionately their closest neighbors. When the federal power was essentially paralyzed under traitor Yeltsin, Dagestanis spontaneously formed their own militia to repel invading Chechens in 1999.

  17. another anon says

    Meanwhile, the great Caucasian turkey shoot continues unabated, promised Russian help is not evident anywhere.



    Is Putin bidding his time, or is this unflattering estimate of Russian power correct?


  18. AnonFromTN says

    Russia is basically just a larger Armenia

    This statement is about as true as a statement that a wave is just a larger droplet of water, and a tsunami is just a larger wave, so there is nothing to worry about.

    Considering previous BS from Pashinian and other Armenian sorosoids, Putin does not want to be seen as pro-Armenian, but I don’t think he’d let wannabe sultan have his way. As far as I can tell, Putin is biding his time expecting that Azeris would strike Armenia proper at some point. That would trigger ODKB (i.e., Russian) response, and then Azerbaijan (and Turkey, if the sultan is dumb enough to interfere openly) would suffer the same fate as Georgia in 2008.