Russians blame EU, Athens for Greek crisis - poll

The Greek situation has caught the eye of most Russians, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said, adding that 57 percent of its respondents were watching the events in that country.

The Greek situation has caught the eye of most Russians, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said, adding that 57 percent of its respondents were watching the events in that country.

Speaking of the culprits behind the Greece crisis, 42 percent pointed the finger at the European Union which gave more loans to Greece then it could repay. About a third (30 percent) put the blame on the national government that assumed the back-breaking loan obligations.

Twenty-four percent of the 1,600 people interviewed in 130 populated localities in 46 regions on July 18-19 were undecided.

In the opinion of 46 percent of Russians, Greece's secession from the European Union will weaken the EU. Seventeen percent argued that the EU would even benefit from that, and 37 percent could not answer the question.

Opinions differed on what standpoint Russia should maintain regarding Greece.

A third (33 percent) suggested that Russia assist in diplomatic negotiations between Greece and the European Union. Another third (30 percent) proposed economic assistance through the lifting of sanctions against Greek commodities, promotion of Russian tourism in Greece and so on. Eleven percent said it would make sense to provide subsidies and loans. Thirty-three percent said any Russian assistance to Greece would be unnecessary.

"Russian citizens have lately developed a feeling of the unjust and biased attitude of the Western world to Russia. A significant part of the Russian population sees Greece as a potential ally, a weak link or a hole in the anti-Russian policy and a victim of the injustice of the general world order, and the EU is often blamed for its problems," VTsIOM communications director Alexei Firsov said in his comment on the poll results.

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