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Most Russians to see New Year in at home; 1% to go abroad - VTSIOM

December 25, 2015, 0:25 UTC+3 MOSCOW

According to VTSIOM, 41% of Russians are optimistic about 2016; 43 % are neither happy nor sad while 14% admitted they did not expect anything good

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MOSCOW, December 25 /TASS/. The majority of Russians will see the New Year in at home and only 1% said they would go abroad, Valery Fyodorov, director-general of the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre VTSIOM, said on Thursday.

"Our New Year tradition has practically remained unchanged. It is a family holiday. Seventy-seven percent of the Russians plan to see the New Year in at home," Fyodorov told journalists.

He said that every 10th Russian (11%) would see the New Year at somebody else’s place. Two percent of respondents said they would spend the New Year night either at a night club or in a restaurant. Two and one percent of respondents mentioned summer cottages or countryside holiday homes, respectively.

"One percent of those polled said they would spend the New Year holiday abroad. Three percent admitted they did not intend to mark the arrival of 2016 at all," Fyodorov said.

According to VTSIOM, 41% of Russians are optimistic about 2016; 43 % are neither happy nor sad while 14% admitted they did not expect anything good.

However, 52% of respondents said the outgoing year was good and successful for them and their families (against 59% in 2014). Forty-seven percent of the polled said they had more difficulties than joys. Their number has grown by 8% since 2014.

The VTSIOM public opinion poll took place on December 19-20, 2015. It embraced 1,600 people in 130 populated localities in 46 regions, territories and republics of Russia. The statistical error does not exceed 3.5%.

The same survey showed that over 40% of Russians consider the war in Syria to be the outgoing year’s main event. 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.

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 rouble, 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 Sergei 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.

Only half of Russians, according to Fydorov, approve of the work of the Russian State Duma and the Federation Council, the lower and upper chambers of the Russian Federal Assembly (parliament).

"Both chambers have similar approval ratings. Forty-eight percent of Russians approved of the Duma’s work in January this year. Their number has increased to 51% in December," Fyodorov told journalists.

The Federation Council has approximately the same level of approval ranging from 47% to 51%, the VTSIOM director-general went on to say.

He noted that the level of public support for political parties this year has varied from 43% in January to 47% in December. "The level of support for the opposition has ranged from 26% to 36%," Fyodorov added explaining that in this poll the respondents were free to interpret the opposition notion to their liking.

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