The threat of nuclear war is a terrifying prospect, and recent news that Vladimir Putin is considering sending tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus has increased tensions between Russia and the West.

Putin’s nuclear threats and aggressive actions toward neighboring states, for instance, Ukraine, are part of his vision of a resurgent Russia and require the subjugation of neighboring states. Putin’s potential use of nuclear weapons is a chilling reminder of the fragility of our society and the need for responsible leadership.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) reaffirms the vital role of nuclear weapons in Allied deterrence and highlights that it poses no threat to the Russian Federation. Russia’s nuclear signaling and coercion have severely destabilized the international security order.

Hence, Real Research, an online survey app, launched a survey on Putin’s nuclear threats to gather insights and data on the prevalence and impact of Putin’s behavior and gauge people’s attitudes towards weapons of mass destruction.

Key Points

  • 28.2% said that Putin would highly likely use nuclear weapons in the future.
  • The transfer of weapons demonstrates Russia’s military power to other nations, alleged  15.34%.
  • 8.69% believed relocating nuclear weapons to Belarus could enhance diplomatic initiatives to resolve the Ukraine conflict.

Initially, we asked the survey participants if they knew Russia’s plan to transport “tactical nuclear weapons” to Belarus. Our survey results indicated that 52.94% of the respondents were fully informed about the matter, whereas 35.47% had some awareness. However, 11.59% of the participants did not know the situation.

In the following poll, we asked the respondents if they supported Putin’s decision to transfer weapons to Belarus. Most respondents (50.79%) opposed the decision, while 20.84% supported the decision. Notably, 28.37% remained neutral about the situation.

Likelihood of Russia Transferring Nuclear Weapons to Belarus Amidst US Officials’ Skepticism

The current geopolitical landscape has been rife with tensions and the nuclear conflict between Russia and Ukraine. Amidst the escalating tensions, reports have emerged that Russia intends to transfer nuclear weapons to its neighboring country, Belarus.

However, US officials have expressed skepticism about these reports, as no evidence suggests such an intention. Based on our survey results, most respondents (46.4%) said that Putin would highly likely transfer the weapons to Belarus and 28.24% said somewhat likely.

In contrast, 11.25% said somewhat unlikely and 3.89% said highly unlikely.

The potential transfer of nuclear weapons from Russia to Belarus has raised concerns among international observers, as it would be the first time Russia has had nuclear weapons outside of its borders since the mid-1990s. This begs the question of why Putin announced this move.

According to a recent survey about Putin’s nuclear blackmail, the largest portion of respondents (15.34%) believed that Putin’s announcement was intended to demonstrate Russia’s military power to other nations. This view was followed closely by the belief, with 14.5% of respondents indicating that it could be an attempt to dissuade potential allies from providing arms to Ukraine.

Figure 1 Reasons behind Putin’s announcement of nuclear transfer to Belarus.
Figure 1: Reasons behind Putin’s announcement of nuclear transfer to Belarus.

The survey also identified that 12.88% believed the transfer was a response to the UK’s announcement that it would supply Ukraine with depleted uranium tank shells. This was followed by Russia’s intention to increase its regional military presence (12.49%).

In addition, 11.81% of respondents believed that Putin’s announcement was intended to establish closer military cooperation with Belarus. 11.35% believed that Putin’s nuclear threat was meant to protect Russia’s nuclear weapons from potential threats, while 10.4% thought it was meant to deter potential aggressors from attacking Russia.

Concerns Over Potential Ramifications of Russia’s Nuclear Transfer Plan

In the following poll, we asked what the respondents think would happen following Russia’s announcement of its nuclear weapons transfer.

Most respondents (18.69%) believed that there would be increased diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict. This view was followed closely by the belief that regional tensions would increase (18.15%).

Meanwhile, 17.77% believed that many countries and international organizations would step up diplomatic efforts to resolve the Ukraine conflict, indicating a belief in a more collective international response. In contrast, 10.67% believed there would be no significant change in the current situation.

Figure 2 Possible consequences of Russia’s announcement.
Figure 2: Possible consequences of Russia’s announcement.

Interestingly, a significant portion of respondents (10.53%) believed that potential allies would cease helping Ukraine, suggesting that the announcement could significantly impact international relations and alliances.

Likelihood of Putin’s Nuclear Threat in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

As the Russia-Ukraine war rages on, concerns about Putin’s nuclear threat have been mounting. Our survey found that a combined 59.54% of respondents believed that it was likely that Putin would use nuclear weapons at some point in the future – with 28.2% believing it was highly likely and 31.34% believing it was somewhat likely.

However, there were still a significant number of respondents who believed that it was unlikely that Putin would use nuclear weapons (23.23% somewhat unlikely and 8.97% highly unlikely). A minority of 8.26% were unsure.

Figure 3 Likelihood of Putin using weapons of mass destruction.
Figure 3 Likelihood of Putin using weapons of mass destruction.

The results of this poll highlight the concerns and uncertainties surrounding Putin’s nuclear threat in the ongoing conflict with Ukraine. It remains to be seen whether such a threat will come to fruition, but the international community is closely monitoring the situation and considering potential implications.


Survey TitleSurvey on Putin’s Nuclear Threats
DurationApril 2-April 9, 2023
Number of Participants10,000
DemographicsMales and females, aged 21 to 99
Participating Countries Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Benin, Bolivia, Brazil, Brunei, Bulgaria, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Cameroon, Canada, Chile, China, China (Hong Kong) China (Macao), China (Taiwan), Colombia, Costa Rica, Croatia, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Finland, France, Gambia, Georgia, Germany, Ghana, Greece, Greanada, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lebanon, Libya, Lithuania, Malaysia, Maldives, Maluritania, Mexico, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar [Burma], Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Panama, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Sierra Leone, Singapore, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, Togo, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Vietnam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.