MOSCOW, August 4. /TASS/. Most Russians received the news of fresh US sanctions against Russia rather calmly, however, their attitude towards the US has worsened, a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center showed on Friday.
"Sixty-eight percent of Russians said they had heard about a new round of sanctions initiated by the US Congress, but just 16% of those polled have detailed information on the issue. Twenty-eight percent of our fellow countrymen have certain fears regarding their potential negative effect on our country (39% among those who keep up with the latest news). Positive expectations have been expressed by 9% of the respondents, and about half of them (48%) do not expect any changes," the pollster said.
The assessments of the sanctions’ impact remained practically unchanged in July compared to March, with 35% speaking about positive effects and 26% believing that the sanctions have exacerbated the situation in the country. More than one quarter of those polled (29%) believe that sanctions had no serious effect on society’s life. The number of Russians who felt that they or their relatives and friends were affected by the sanctions, has grown by 1%. However, 79% said they felt no consequences whatsoever.
Nineteen percent suggested tit-for-tat moves, 4% opted for a tough response, while one-third of the respondents argued no response is necessary. Russia should refrain from active steps to seek the removal of the sanctions, 72% of the respondents said. On the other hand, 20% of those polled pointed to the need for certain measures to have Western sanctions removed (since their economic effects are profound).
Russians’ liking for the US president has declined sharply (from 27% to 18%), while negative sentiment grew from 22% to 28%. However, a neutral attitude prevails (43%).
The survey was conducted on July 30-31, 2017, with respondents interviewed over the phone. The margin of error does not exceed 3.5%.
Washington’s fresh round of sanctions
The US began to slap sanctions on Moscow in 2014 over developments in Ukraine and Crimea’s reunification with Russia. They affected some Russian banks and companies as well as high-ranking officials. Exports of US-made goods, technologies and services to Crimea were banned. American investment on the Black Sea peninsula was outlawed as well. The sanctions have been extended on several occasions.
On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump signed into law a bill specifying tougher sanctions against Russia, Iran and North Korea. The law enshrines the existing sanctions and provides an opportunity to impose fresh restrictive measures, even against energy companies. The document was cobbled together from long, laborious efforts by both parties in the US Congress, with lawmakers overwhelmingly voting in favor of it.