The majority of Russians think that the refusal of U.S. President Barack Obama to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin will not have any impact on the countries' bilateral relations and they support Moscow's decision to grant asylum to former employee of U.S. special services Edward Snowden, sociologists said.
Half of Russian citizens (50 percent) are aware that Obama has cancelled a face-to-face meeting with Putin planned in the framework of the upcoming G20 summit in St. Petersburg, the survey of the Public Opinion Foundation said.
Many respondents (27 percent) think that the main reason for the meeting's cancellation is Moscow's decision to grant asylum to Snowden. Some Russians (5 precent) think that Obama "is afraid of our president, of our country" and some (4 percent each) relate this step to general deterioration of the Russian-U.S. relations and the "personal reasons" of the U.S. president.
When asked about their attitude toward Obama, 67 percent respondents said they were indifferent to the U.S. president, 16 percent said they had positive attitude and 13 percent - negative. Only 2 percent of Russians said their attitude had recently improved and 17 percent said it had deteriorated, while the majority (67 percent) said it had not changed.
The main reason behind worsening attitudes toward Obama is his unfriendly attitude towards Russia (5 percent), the aggressive policy of the United States (5 percent), their dislike of him as a politician and individual (4 percent) and the Snowden situation (3 percent), the poll showed.
A third of respondents (33 percent) think that the Russian-U.S. relations are currently deteriorating, 12 percent think they are improving and 40 percent think they remain the same, the survey said. Russians blame the United States for the deterioration more than they do Russia (19 percent against 2 percent) and 9 percent said both countries were equally responsible.
Nevertheless, 58 percent of Russians said they were certain that Obama's unwillingness to meet with Putin would not have any impact on Moscow-Washington relations and 30 percent admitted they expected some deterioration due to Obama's decision to cancel the meeting, the poll showed.
When asked about their opinion of Snowden, who released secret information about the online surveillance of the U.S. special services in early June, 48 percent said they supported Snowden's decision to release this information, 30 percent said they condemned Snowden's actions and 22 percent failed to respond.
Sixty-six percent of Russian citizens support the authorities' decision to grant asylum to Snowden, 18 percent are opposed, 16 percent failed to answer, the Public Opinion Foundation telephone survey of 1,000 respondents held on August 17-18 showed.
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