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Sanctions don’t scare: Russians brush off "insignificant aftermaths"

March 27, 2014, 17:09 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Poll returns recorded that 52% of 1,600 surveyed Russian nationals believed relations between Russia and the West can be only tense, based on mistrust
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© ITAR-TASS/Valery Sharifulin

MOSCOW, March 27. /ITAR-TASS/. Sanctions imposed by the United States and the European Union on Russia after Crimea’s accession have not scared Russian citizens, suggests an opinion poll by the WCIOM Public Opinion Foundation, carried out in 42 Russian regions.

Poll returns recorded that 52% of 1,600 surveyed Russian nationals believed “relations between Russia and the West can be only tense, based on mistrust”. Thirty-four percent, mainly young people admitted the possibility of “truly friendly” cooperation. However, no more than 15% were concerned over measures such as visa bans and assets freezes for certain Russians, or over diplomatic retaliation.

Seventy-four percent assessed visa bans by the US and the EU as “insignificant aftermaths,” and 67% dismissed cancellation of a G8 summit in Sochi as an inessential event.

Only 25% said consequences from the sanctions far outweighed the importance of having Crimea back in Russia. They linked “the seriousness” of the sanctions to a threat of major economic damage to Russia or Ukraine’s hypothetical entry into NATO.

WCIOM Director General Valery Fedotov explained this attitude to sanctions by “euphoria from Crimea’s accession, against the background of which possible difficulties recede into the background”. Besides, the sociologist said, “citizens don’t quite relate sanctions with their own welfare”.

In the eyes of the population, relations between Russia and Western countries had not looked friendly before the crisis in Ukraine. Actions and events emerging from the West “are perceived with skepticism,” the head of WCIOM research projects, Mikhail Mamonov, said.

References back to 2007 record 17% of polled Russians saying relations between Russia and the West were “rather deteriorating” while in 2008, after war with Georgia, their number grew to 39 percent.

Now, 49% of polled Russian nationals notice this is worsening. Others are confident that relations do not change (36%) while nine percent even believe relations are “rather improving”. Only six percent currently find it difficult to answer the question about relations with the West.

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