MOSCOW, January 25 (Itar-Tass) - Russia’s decision to provide $15 billion in a loan to Ukraine and to reduce gas prices is regarded as an attempt to maintain friendly relations and to support its neighbor in a difficult situation, as follows from a recent opinion poll, conducted by the Russian National Public Opinion Studies Center (VTsIOM).
VTsIOM statistics show that most Russian citizens - about 76 percent - know about the Russian authorities’ decision, with 27 percent of the respondents being well-informed. The highest awareness of the issue was demonstrated by senior citizens (82 percent of the respondents aged 45 and older) and residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg (86 percent). And only every fifth respondent - 23 percent - admitted to having heard nothing about such measures.
Asked about possible reasons for this decision, most respondents said Russia’s president aimed to maintain friendly relations with Ukraine - this answer was chosen by 13 percent of those surveyed. About 10 percent believe this measure was due to support Ukraine in its hour of need. Less frequent answers were “fraternal assistance” (7 percent), “an attempt to draw Ukraine over to the Russian side” (7 percent), “a stroke of policy” aimed to prevent Ukraine from joining the European Union (6 percent) and the pursuit of the country’s own economic interests (5 percent).
The survey was conducted on January 18-19, 2014 when 1,600 people in 130 cities and villages of Russia were interviewed. The margin of error was at about three percent.