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Most Russians believe peace will eventually be established in N Caucasus - poll

Moscow, 27 August: Half of Russians believe it is possible to establish peaceful life in the North Caucasus, although most of our citizens (38 per cent) believe that the authorities will need many years for this and 12 per cent hope for such a result in the next few years, sociologists have found out.

Meanwhile, the second half of those polled do not believe such an outlook and believe that over decades Chechnya will remain a source of tension and conflict (30 per cent) and that Russia will have to recognize its independence (16 per cent), the Levada Centre told Interfax today, following an all-Russian poll in August.

In response to sociologists' question "Can the Russian authorities protect the country's population from new terrorist acts?", respondents' opinions were divided: 45 per cent think that they can and 40 per cent that they can't.

The majority of those polled (68 per cent) said that they are afraid of becoming victims of terrorist acts themselves; of these, one fifth are very afraid of such a prospect. Only 12 per cent of Russians are confident that such a thing will not happen to them or their relatives and 18 per cent do not think about this issue at all.

Answering a separate question by sociologists about the events in Beslan, where terrorists took more than 1,000 people hostage in September 2004, half of the Russians polled (50 per cent) as before are confident that the authorities are at present telling only part of the truth about the tragedy, as a result of which 330 people were killed. A quarter of respondents (25 per cent) believe that the whole truth is being kept from them.

A further 5 per cent accuse the authorities of consciously misleading the public and only 10 per cent of those polled maintain that they are being told everything about the events of those days.

More than half of Russians (53 per cent) believe at present that the authorities did everything possible to save the hostages in the Beslan school; a third (33 per cent) of those polled by sociologists in 128 towns in 46 of the country's regions do not agree with them.

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