Most Russians criticized the current situation in the North Caucasus

Two-thirds of Russians interviewed by the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) in July criticized the present-day situation in the North Caucasus, adding that every mention of the region tended to evoke associations with war, explosions, terrorist attacks and militants.

Sixty-two percent of respondents described today's situation in the North Caucasus as unstable and turbulent, and 19 percent  took the opposite view, the foundation's sociologists said. The number of Russians who view the situation in the region as tense remains high, but has declined slightly in the past two years, as compared with 71 percent at the beginning of 2010, they said. The public opinion survey involved 1,500 people and was conducted in 43 Russian regions on July 21-22.

Sixty-three percent of respondents to a poll conducted by the Levada Center in July also described the situation in the North Caucasus as "tense, critical and explosive", but 23 percent spoke of it as "safe and quiet", center specialists told Interfax. A mere 13 percent of Russians interviewed by Levada Center sociologists said they believed that the situation in the North Caucasus republics of Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia would improve within a year. Fifty-seven percent of respondents said that it would remain unchanged, and 14 percent said that it would worsen.

Thirty-five percent of respondents to the Public Opinion Foundation's poll agreed that the federal government was controlling the situation in the North Caucasus, and 40 percent expressed the opposition opinion. Thirty-eight percent said that the North Caucasus republics were receiving too much money from the federal budget, 5 percent took the opposite view, and 21 percent of those polled described the amount of funds allocated for the region as sufficient.

Asked by FOM to describe associations the words "North Caucasus" tend to provoke, 22 percent of respondents said "war", 10 percent "explosions, terrorist attacks, militants", 8 percent, "lack of order, instability, painful issue for Russia", 4 percent "worry, fear", and 3 percent "aggression, violence, murders". However, 8 percent of those polled said they associated the North Caucasus with "mountains, the sea, beautiful nature", 2 percent  with "health resorts, tourism, vacations", and 1 percent with "hospitality, friendliness".

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