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Over 40% of Russians call war in Syria the year’s main event

December 24, 2015, 18:17 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia's rift with Turkey and the Ukrainian crisis, as well as the ruble's fall were mentioned as well
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MOSCOW, December 24 /TASS/. Over 40% of Russians consider the war in Syria to be the outgoing year’s main event, a public opinion poll suggests. Russia’s rift with Turkey was mentioned by about 26% of those polled.

Twenty-five percent of respondents noted the Ukraine crisis as the year’s central event, according to a survey conducted by the Russian public opinion research centre VTSIOM on December 19-20, 2015.

VTSIOM’s Director General Valery Fyodorov told journalists that the centre had asked the respondents to name three major events of global importance that had taken place in 2015.

"Forty-three percent of those polled said it was the war in Syria; 26% believe it is Russia’s conflict with Turkey and 25% mentioned the Ukraine crisis," Fyodorov said.

Only 7% of respondents called the terror attacks in Paris as the main global affair.

The top three events in Russia, according to those polled, include Russia’s conflict with Turkey (12%); the crash of a Russian plane over the Sinai peninsula (11%) and the weakening ruble, inflation and crisis (10%).

Fyodorov said Russians had improved their attitude to the Russian army. The number of those approving its activities has increased from 75% in January this year to 83% in December.

"We are noting an upward vector. It is particularly important under the current circumstances when we have a ‘fighting’ army. I mean the military operation in Syria," the sociologist said.

Russian society’s demand for a strong and reliable army has never been higher and the population’s attitude to the military is extremely positive, Fyodorov told the final session of the Russian Defense Ministry Public Council on Monday.

"The society’s attitude to the Russian army has radically improved over the past 15 years. This popularity growth has been vertical over the past three years. The dynamics is fantastic: from 32% of Russians who approved of the Armed Forces activities in 2006 to 82% in 2015," he said.

The VTSIOM chief said there was a number of reasons for the army’s improved image. First, the state has invested profusely in the Russian army over the past few years. It has adopted new laws and changed the principle of staffing the Russian Armed Forces.

"Everything has integrated and produced a cumulative effect after Sergei Shoigu had become the Russian defense minister," Fyodorov stressed.

The society’s outcry for a strong, confident and reliable defender who can be trusted has never been stronger than it is today, the sociologist said.

"Our opinion polls show that society is literally ‘crying out’ for a strong army," he said.

According to VTSIOM polls, 88% of respondents shared the idea that Russia needed a strong army; 88% trust Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu; 89% believe that the Russian army will be able to defend the country in case of a real military threat.

According to VTSIOM, Russians are less confident of Russian law enforcement bodies. Only 54% of respondents in the December poll said they had trust in laws enforcers and approved their work.

Even fewer people (41%-42%) said they approved of the work of the Russian judicial system. The VTSIOM poll embraced 1,600 people in 130 populated localities in 46 regions, territories and republics of Russia. The statistical error does not exceed 3.5%.

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