Russians fear possible civil war in Ukraine - poll

Sixty-eight percent of Russian citizens interviewed by the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) in March said tensions were mounting in Ukraine.

Sixty-eight percent of Russian citizens interviewed by the All Russian Center for Public Opinion Studies (VTsIOM) in March said tensions were mounting in Ukraine.

Twenty-two percent of respondents believe that the situation in Ukraine has not changed either for better or worse, and 7 percent have suggested that the situation was gradually returning to normal.

According to VTsIOM sociologists, the opinion that the situation in Ukraine is deteriorating is particularly popular among supporters of A Just Russia Party (76 percent) and the Communist Party of Russia (78 percent).

Most respondents to the survey believe that Ukraine is facing a bleak future. Sixty-two percent of those polled said that Ukraine is heading for a civil war. Twenty-seven percent of respondents expressed hope that the political crisis in Ukraine would be over soon.

When asked to assess Ukraine's prospects for membership in the European Union, 56 percent of those polled said that this would not happen, and 23 percent took the opposite view.

According to the center's sociologists, 61 percent of respondents fear that the interests of Ukraine's Russian-speaking population will be abused, and another 28 percent hope that this will not happen.

The feeling of dissociation between the Russians and the Ukrainians has intensified over the past decade: 38 percent of respondents to the March survey said that the Russian and Ukrainian people do not have much in common today (16 percent in 2004).

This point of view is popular mostly among respondents of the 25-34 age group (44 percent), residents of large cities (46 percent), and supporters of parties that are not represented in Russia's parliament today (56 percent).

Forty-four percent of respondents, mostly elderly people (51 percent), have said that unity still exists between the Russian and Ukrainian people.

Seventy-three percent of respondents believe that Ukraine has lost because of the latest developments there, and 5 percent expressed the opposite opinion. Another 15 percent of those polled said that the current situation is not going to change anything in Ukraine.

The survey was conducted in 42 Russian regions on March 1-2 and involved 1,600 people.

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