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Most Russians against idea of compensation to Ukraine for Crimea — poll

October 19, 13:56 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The idea of a compensation was backed by only 4% of the respondents

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Yalta, Crimea

Yalta, Crimea

© Sergei Malgavko/TASS

MOSCOW, October 19. /TASS/. An overwhelming majority of Russians (90%) do not like the idea voiced by Czech President Milos Zeman Moscow might offer a material compensation to Kiev for Crimea, as follows from an opinion poll by Russia’s national pollster VTsIOM, published on the its website on Thursday.

Earlier, Czech President Milos Zeman said Crimea’s reunification with Russia was an accomplished fact. He speculated Russia and Ukraine might settle the controversy if Moscow paid a material compensation "in cash or with oil and gas." In response to the Czech leader’s statement Russian presidential secretary Dmitry Peskov said Crimea had joined Russia quite legitimately and any compensation for the peninsula was ruled out.

One in ten Russians (11%) "rather do not support" Zeman’s idea, 79% "do not support it at all" (84% of them are Russians aged 35-44 and above 60). The idea of a compensation to Ukraine for Crimea was backed by a tiny 4% of the respondents, with the level of support from the group of young people aged 18-24 (19%) being higher than in the other age groups (7% among the polled 25-34-year-olds, 5% among 35-44-year-olds, 1% among those aged 45-59 and 3% among those who have turned 60). Half of the polled (50%) say Crimea has historically belonged to Russia, another 15% do not understand what Russia might pay a compensation for, 13% are certain that the decision to reunite with Russia was made by the peninsula’s residents, so there is no reason at all why Russia might be asked for a compensation. The group of Russians who believe that Russia made the correct decision has grown over the past year: in October 2017 71% said the decision was "unconditionally right" and another 22% described it as "rather correct" (in March 2016 the rates were 69% and 18% respectively).

The importance of Crimea’s recognition as Russian land by other countries is recognized by 69% of Russians; a plurality of them (48%) are people aged 60 and above. Disagreement with this was expressed by 28% of the polled. Over the past two years Russians grew increasingly certain that most other countries will recognize Crimea as Russian territory: 88% percent today believe it will be so, while in February 2015 85% adhered to this viewpoint. One in four (25%) believes that this will happen soon, 40% expect this to happen in several years to come, and 23% believe the recognition may require a longer period - ten years or more.

"From the rational point of view Zeman’s high-profile proposal is not devoid of common sense. In this way Russia might open a window of opportunity for settling relations with the EU and Ukraine. But such cash-based approach to tackling the Crimean issue would run counter to the moral values and ideas of most Russians as to what is Motherland. Crimea is now an integral part of it and already an indisputable one. … Normalization of relations with the West is not an excuse for neglecting principles that are of importance to Russian citizens," the chief of the pollster’s research department, Stepan Lvov, said.

The VTsIOM-Sputnik poll was conducted on October 13-14, 2017 by telephone, with Russian men and women aged above 18 taking part. An audience of 1,200 was polled with the margin of error not exceeding 3.5% with a 95% probability.

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