Almost half of Russians (49 percent) welcome granting Russian citizenship to renowned foreign athletes and leading members of the arts, the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center said in a statement.
"Most of our fellow citizens either view these cases positively (49 percent) or don’t really care (34 percent) while only 15 percent have a negative attitude," the statement reads. Cases of Russian citizenship being granted to famous actors (namely Gerard Depardieu and Steven Seagal) as well as athletes, are widely known in Russia as 95 percent of those polled said they had heard about it, the pollster said.
According to the poll’s results, respondents believe that on the one hand, a positive attitude towards Russia and its culture (15 percent), Russia’s high profile (14 percent) and more favorable living standards (7 percent) are the main reasons foreigners choose to obtain Russian citizenship, while on the other hand, Russians think that by receiving Russian citizenship foreign nationals seek to move from countries that have a high-tax rate (22 percent) or they just don’t support the political course pursued by their countries’ authorities (11 percent). "Scientists and professors (51 percent) as well as qualified experts (37 percent) are among those to whom, Russians say, citizenship should be granted in the first place," the All-Russia pollster added.
"Whatever the reasons for the choice (of Russian citizenship), such cases demonstrate a high interest in and respect for our country as well as the recognition of its prestige. The poll’s outcome once again shows how important it is to improve the quality of migrants coming to Russia. The country’s citizens believe it necessary to attract qualified specialists and top foreign scientists," Director of the national pollster’s special programs Yelena Mikhailova said commenting on the survey’s results.
The poll was conducted by phone on Dec. 17-18, 2016, among 1,600 respondents throughout Russia, the margin of error does not exceed 2.5 percent.