MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. The Russians still consider the Ukrainians as the second most closest people after the Belarusians, despite problems in relations between Russia and Ukraine, Valery Fyodorov, director of the All-Russia Public Opinion Center (VTSIOM), said on Wednesday.
"The civil war, the revolution, Maidan (Kiev’s central Independence Square, a symbol of Ukrainian protests), problems in bilateral relations have failed to shatter Russians’ vision of Ukrainians as a closest people," he said.
In their polls, sociologists asked respondents to rate the cultures of 11 peoples for their closeness to the Russian culture on an 11-point scale (the lower the point the bigger the degree of closeness). Such polls were conducted in 2012 and in late 2014.
"The Belarusians were seen as the closest people in 2012 (2.29 points) and have continued to be the closest (2.55 points)," Fyodorov said.
The so-called "cultural distance" between the Russians and the Ukrainians has grown from 2.34 point to 3.34 points. "The distance has increased over these two years, but not dramatically — by one point only. It is not much within the 11-point scale," he noted.
According to the poll results, Ukrainians are followed by the Slovaks (4.45 points), the Czech (5.35 points), the Poles (5.74 points), the Lithuanians (6.15 points), the Germans (7.09 points), the French (7.5 points), and the British (8.2 points).
"The Chinese have changed places with the Americans — whereas the Chinese were previously seen as the most distant people, now the Americans are seen as the most distant, but the changes are minor," Fyodorov said.
The cultural distance between the Russians and the Chinese shortened from 9.23 to 8.46 points over the two years. The cultural distance to the Americans increased from 8.41 to 8.90 points.
The VTSIOM poll of late 2014 involved 1,600 respondents in 46 Russian regions. The statistical error is within 3.5%