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MOSCOW, June 29. /TASS/. Russians are convinced that the West wants to "humiliate and weaken" Russia, but the country should "continue its policy despite sanctions", according to a public opinion poll by Levada Center published by the Kommersant business daily.
A total of 66% of respondents said Western sanctions aim "to weaken and humiliate Russia," whereas 21% said their goal was "to restore the geopolitical balance broken by Crimea’s reunification with Russia." Five percent said other countries are using sanctions against Russia to "stop the war, destruction and human deaths in east Ukraine."
Asked whom the Western sanctions are aimed against, 46% said "against broad layers of the Russian Federation's population," 29% said against "a narrow circle of people responsible for Russia’s policy regarding Ukraine." Nineteen percent said Western leaders did not think of a target to hit by the restrictions.
Asked about Russia’s response measures, 70% of respondents said the country should "continue its policy despite sanctions" and only 20% would like to seek compromise "to have sanctions lifted."
Forty-two percent suggested first of all "reinforcing the economic and military ties with countries of the Middle East, China, India," 38% said "tough response sanctions should be imposed," 37% said Western countries should be just ignored. Sixteen percent were for increasing the military budget, seven percent for refusal to pay off any foreign debts, and 10% for compromise.
Russians are also not ready to call in question the necessity of Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Fifty-three percent "definitely support" it, and 34% "rather support" it.
A total of 800 people were polled.
For incorporation of Crimea after last year’s coup in Ukraine, Russia came under sanctions on the part of the United States and many European countries. The restrictive measures were soon intensified following Western and Ukrainian claims that Russia supported militias in self-proclaimed republics in Ukraine’s southeast and was involved in destabilization of Ukraine.
As countermeasures, Russia imposed on August 6, 2014 a one-year ban on imports of beef, pork, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit, vegetables and dairy products from Australia, Canada, the European Union, the United States and Norway.
The Russian authorities have repeatedly denied accusations of "annexing" Crimea, because Crimea reunified with Russia voluntarily after a referendum, as well as claims that Moscow could in any way be involved in hostilities in Ukraine’s east.
Crimea and Sevastopol adopted declarations of independence on March 11, 2014. They held a referendum on March 16, 2014, in which 96.77% of Crimeans and 95.6% of Sevastopol voters chose to secede from Ukraine and join the Russian Federation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the reunification deals March 18, 2014.
Work to integrate the Crimean Peninsula into Russia’s economic, financial, credit, legal, state power, military conscription and infrastructure systems has been actively underway since Crimea acceded to the Russian Federation.