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Russians back retaliatory measures against Western sanctions — study

September 29, 2014, 16:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Most respondents believe that the ban on food imports from the Western countries is a “positive impetus for developing the domestic agriculture and food industry”

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© ITAR-TASS/Yevgeny Kurskov

MOSCOW, September 29. /ITAR-TASS/. Most Russians (84%) approve the measures that Moscow introduced last month in retaliation to Western sanctions, saying they are expected to boost the domestic economic development, a new study revealed on Monday.

The study, People and Sanctions, which was presented at a press conference hosted by ITAR-TASS, has been prepared by Russia’s Center for Political Analysis based on opinion polls provided by the leading sociological agencies.

The Russian citizens were “morally ready for the introduction of the sanctions regime” by the Western countries, the study based on the data received in the first six months of the year says.

Since the beginning of the year, opinion polls have shown that Russians “understand that tensions in the world are running high” and the country’s relations with the West are deteriorating.

Russian citizens harshly criticized the sanctions against Russia, and Moscow’s retaliatory measures, namely the one-year food ban on imports from the countries that targeted Russia, “were perceived as a matter of course even before their introduction,” the study reads.

Most Russians positively reacted when the country announced its retaliatory measures, saying that domestic food products “are better than the foreign counterparts or their quality is the same”.

The respondents believe that the ban on food imports from the Western countries, namely the United States and the European Union, is a “positive impetus for developing the domestic agriculture and food industry” and this step is expected to benefit Russian consumers.

According to the study, between 50% and 80% of respondents think that the current “sanctions war” is unlikely to affect them as they in principle are not buying those goods that Russia has recently sanctioned.

A significant number of respondents, who buy the sanctioned food products, said they are ready to stop consuming them so that Russia could take a stand for independence.

The study has revealed that government officials are among the most patriotically-minded people in Russia who said they are ready to stop buying the sanctioned foods, including their favorite ones — parmesan, salmon and sushi.

The data for the study was provided by an opinion poll carried out for the Center for Political Analysis in August 2014.

The United States and the European Union have imposed several rounds of sanctions against Russia since March over its stance on the conflict in Ukraine. Moscow responded by introducing a one-year ban on imports of selected foods from sanctioning countries (Australia, Canada, the EU, the US and Norway) in early August.

In mid-September, Brussels introduced further sanctions, for the first time targeting directly the financing of the state-owned oil sector, which is crucial to the Russian economy. The United States similarly strengthened its sanctions, adding Russia’s largest bank, Sberbank, and energy giant Gazprom to the list of targeted companies.

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