Over 60 per cent of Russians think of North Caucasus as uneasy region – poll

Moscow, 27 July: Two-thirds of Russians critically assess the current situation in North Caucasus and the first thing which comes to their mind as regards the region are war, explosions, terrorist attacks, and militants, sociologists’ poll has shown.

As many as 62 per cent of the respondents describe the current situation in North Caucasus as unstable and uneasy, one in five (19 per cent) stick to an opposite point of view, sociologists from the Public Opinion Foundation (FOM) found out during the poll carried out on 21-22 July in 100 localities in 43 Russian regions among 1,500 respondents.

According to the data published, Russians believe that the level of tension in the region remains high over the past two years, though it has a tendency towards weakening – 71 per cent of the respondents thought so in early 2010.

Levada-Center’s respondents, who were polled by sociologists during the same period, assess critically the situation in North Caucasus, too. On the whole, 23 per cent out of 1,600 respondents in 45 Russian regions described the situation in the regions as "favourable and calm", however 63 per cent of the respondents think that the situation is "tense, critical and potentially hazardous", sociologists told Interfax.

Only 13 per cent of the polled by Levada-Center believe that the situation in the North Caucasus republics – Chechnya, Dagestan and Ingushetia – will improve in the course of the next year, 57 per cent do not anticipate changes, and 14 per cent forecast deterioration.

Asked by FOM socioligists whether the federal authorities have control of the situation in North Caucasus at the moment, Russians split over the answer: 35 per cent said yes, and 40 per cent said no. At the same time 38 per cent of the polled said that the federal budget is giving too much money to the North Caucasus republics, 5 per cent think vice versa, and 21 per cent are sure that the republics receive enough money.

Asked by FOM socioligists what associations they have when hear the word combination North Caucasus, the respondents said "war, armed conflicts and military operations" (22 per cent), and also "explosions, terrorist attacks and militants" (10 per cent). Among other negative associations there were "unrest and instability", and "Russia’s painful point" (8 per cent), "anxiety, worry and fear" (4 per cent), "aggression, violence, murders" (3 per cent).

There are also positive associations, not so many though: "mountains, sea, beautiful nature (8 per cent), "resorts, tourism, leisure" (2 per cent), "hospitality, friendliness" (1 per cent) and others.

Source: Interfax news agency, Moscow, in Russian 0839 gmt 27 Jul 12

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