Russian citizens expect issues to emerge due to new regions' accession to Russia and Ukrainian crisis but think the West is not going to introduce harsh sanctions against Russia, sociologists said citing polls.
In late May 27 percent respondents said that Western sanctions are aimed against wide strata of Russian population, 24 percent they really affected their interests, while in late June the share of people with these viewpoints grew to 31 percent and 35 percent respectively, sociologists of Levada Center told Interfax following a survey held among 1,600 respondents in 134 cities, towns and villages in 46 Russian regions.
Meanwhile, the number of Russians, thinking sanctions impact interests of a small stratum responsible for the Russia policy regarding Ukraine, dropped from 63 percent to 52 percent and the share of those convinced sanctions were directed namely against them decreased from 42 percent to 35 percent, the poll showed.
Twenty two per cent respondents think that Western politicians do not think how their actions affect interests of Russians (against 19 percent in May), sociologists said.
When asked how relations between Russia and Western countries will develop following the current conflict around Ukraine, 37 percent said tension and even a new wave of Cold War awaited Moscow in relations with Western partners, 43 percent hope that "everything will soft-pedal and our relations will gradually return to the way they were," and 20 percent failed to respond.
At the same time, 67 percent Russian citizens believe that West will not go for harsh sanctions because this will threaten its economic interests (against 75 percent in March), sociologists said. The share of people with the opposite stance on this regard grew from 12 percent to 20 percent.
According to the poll, 55 percent respondents (against 61 percent in March) think that the West will not introduce harsh sanctions fearing they will lead to Russia tightening its stance and 32 percent (against 24 percent) have the opposite opinion.
Fifty five per cent Russians (against 60 percent three months ago) are certain that Western sanctions will "eventually affect higher leadership and ordinary people should not worry about this and 30 percent (against 22 percent) share the opposite stance, sociologists said.
A total of 66 percent (against 68 percent in March) respondents said that possible sanctions have advantage - this will give impetus to the domestic industry and agriculture development and 20 percent said they shared the opposite viewpoint (against 17 percent).
According to the survey, 38 percent Russian citizens (against 36 percent) are pessimistic and think that sanctions will lead to "deterioration of situation in Russian economy, price growth and unemployment, which will affect ordinary people" and 47 percent (against 46 percent) disagree with this stance.
The United States and France suppose that Russia should take additional steps to de-escalate the situation in southeastern Ukraine, otherwise it will face new sanctions, the White House said overnight into Tuesday.
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