Most Russians support Moscow's response to U.S. Magnitsky Act - poll

Most Russians support the country's retaliation against the U.S. Magnitsky Act, Levada Center sociologists told Interfax on Friday.

The poll was held in 130 towns and cities in 45 regions on Jan. 18-31.

Some 53 percent of the respondents supported the ban on U.S. citizens' participation and financing of Russian public organizations and 47 percent supported the ban on U.S. adoptions of Russian children, the sociologists.

The sanctions were opposed by 23 percent and 31 percent respectively, while many (25 percent and 22 percent respectively) had not made up their mind.

The sociologists said that 71 percent of Russians knew about the U.S. Magnitsky Act: 24 percent approved of it, 14 percent were indignant and 52 percent were indifferent.

In the opinion of 37 percent of the respondents, the document primarily targeted "Russian corrupt bureaucrats robbing the country and laundering the stolen money in the United States." Seventeen percent said that the United States wished to punish "Russian public servants and law enforcement officers who violate human rights in Russia."

Nine percent defined the act as an attempt to put pressure on Russia and the Russian people, another 9 percent said it personally targeted "Vladimir Putin and his political course," and 29 percent could not answer the question.

Russians were divided over the validity of Western sanctions on officials from other countries over the infringement of human rights: 36 percent supported the sanctions, 32 percent did not and 31 percent could not answer the question.

Fifty-seven percent of Russians supported similar bans on U.S. citizens in retaliation against the Magnitsky Act and 20 percent opposed that option.

U.S. President Barack Obama signed the Magnitsky Act into law on December 14, 2012, simultaneously with the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment. The law sets visa and financial sanctions against Russian officials suspected by Washington of bearing a relation to the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky and other human rights violations.

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