MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. Most Russians support the foreign policy course that could be tentatively called ‘the Primakov-Putin course’, researchers at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences told TASS on Wednesday when they were asked to comment on the results of a major nationwide opinion poll.
"Relations of partnership and good-neighborliness with the West but full discretion in foreign and especially domestic policies along with it," is the definition the majority of Russians gave to the current foreign policy course, said Vladimir Petukhov, a deputy chief of the research group.
He said that the ‘Primakov course’ refers to the activity of Dr. Yevgeny Primakov at the post of Prime Minister as of the moment in 1999 when he ordered the crew of his jet to turn back to Moscow right at a point half-way between Europe and North America and cancelled his visit to the U.S. in protest of NATO’s bombing raid on Yugoslavia. Sociologists note that this course was carried on by President Vladimir Putin.
"The Russians seem to have developed, for the first time ever, awareness of interlink between internal political process and the international agenda," Petukhov said. "Interest towards foreign policies has grown considerably. It wasn’t always that way.
"The Russians would take little interest in foreign policy in the 1990’s or the beginning of the 2000’s," he said. "Society was immersed in the process of adaptation."
Today society is signaling to the authorities about "a need for the country’s glory and simultaneously about the fear of a new Cold War". "People’s respect for their own country is growing and the self-perception as the species ‘homo soveticus’ or ‘the Upper Volta with missiles’ has vanished."
"What we see is pride and respect for one’s own country," Petukhov said. "Russia is loved not only by patriots but by liberals as well."
Along with it, "[…] the Russians are gradually beginning to weigh all the pros and cons; they understand that the status of a world power has a price tag, and a very impressive one," he said.
"The idea of returning to an imperial format is losing popularity along with the rise of a conviction that a nation’s grandeur is by and large built and earned at home," Petukhov said. "This realization makes rank-and-file people differ noticeably from the notions harbored by many of our politicians."
The poll was taken last November by a group of leading sociologists with the Institute’s Director, Mikhail Gorshkov, at the head. They polled 4,000 adult Russians in all the economic regions of the country, types of population centers and demographic groups.