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Majority of Russians positive about Crimea’s reunification with Russia — pollster

Asked about their attitude to Crimea’s and Sevastopol’s reunification with Russia 66% of the respondents opted for "indisputably positive" and another 29% for "rather positive"

MOSCOW, March 17. /TASS/. An absolute majority of Russians - 95% - are positive about the reunification of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol with Russia and more than three quarters are certain that this historic decision has given the Crimeans a better life, as follows a poll by the national public opinion studies center WCIOM, timed for the second anniversary of Crimea’s and Sevastopol’s reunification with Russia.

Wholehearted support

As follows from the poll results published on Thursday, "the support for the territories’ re-incorporation are close to absolute: 95% welcome that decision." Asked about their attitude to Crimea’s and Sevastopol’s reunification with Russia 66% of the respondents opted for "indisputably positive" and another 29% for "rather positive." WCIOM recalls that whereas two years ago 89% of Russians regarded Crimea as part of Russia (according to Crimea’s referendum on joining Russia), these days the share of such respondents has been up to 96%.

Most Russian citizens - 79% - have a positive attitude to the newly-admitted territories, the poll says. A large share of those questioned said that the first associations the word "Crimea" brings to mind are "Crimea is ours," and "Russian land," 35% associate the peninsula with health resorts, and 16% with favorable emotions in principle.

To the residents’ benefit

More than three quarters of Russians (79%) believe that reunification with Russia has benefited the peninsula’s residents. On top of the list of changes for the better the polled mentioned a general rise in the living standards, productive economic policies, etc.

"Those who support the opposite point of view are few (3%). As a rule they point to problems with power supply from Ukraine," WCIOM explains. At the same time 89% of Russians "believe it will be unacceptable to sign a contract with Ukraine on power supply on the condition Crimea and Sevastopol will be identified as Ukrainian territories," the sociologists say.

An overwhelming majority of Russians (92%) believe that Crimea’s reunification with Russia goes to show that Russia is capable of safeguarding its national interests, and one in two (53%) believes that as a result of that event Russia gained a firmer foothold in the international scene." And 84% percent of the respondents are certain that the Western countries will eventually recognize the reunification.

The WCIOM survey found that Russians are positively minded about Crimea’s future: 82% believe that Crimea may soon become a world level health resort, and 63% described it as Russia’s best health resort of all.

Pretext for sanctions

As far as sanctions against Russia are concerned, most Russians believe that Crimea’s reunification with Russia was a pretext for the West to begin the policy of sanctions, but not its root cause. Seventy five percent are certain that the historic reunification "was just a pretext for the introduction of sanctions, which would be imposed anyway." Twenty percent disagree with this.

Historical choice made

"The two years following Crimea’s reunification with Russia were hard for the peninsula’s residents and for Russians in general. Crimea has problems in connection with international isolation, Ukraine’s blockade and technicalities of reintegration with Russia’s economic, legal and government system. Russia is under the triple pressure of the world oil crisis, Western sanctions and the related economic problems," says WCIOM’S General Director Valery Fyodorov. However, he points out that the "historic choice made in March 2014, as opinion polls indicate, proves entirely correct. Russia is with Crimea and Crimea is with Russia, and apparently this will be so for a long time, if not forever."

"The problems of the transitional period have not dissuaded the people their choice of two years ago was right," Fyodorov said.

The WCIOM poll was held on March 12-14, 2016. An audience of 1,600 men and women of age were randomly polled by telephone on March 12-14, 2016. The error margin did not exceed 2.5%.