#8 - JRL 7213
Russians divided over Chechen amnesty - poll
MOSCOW. June 6 (Interfax) - In a poll of 1,500 Russians residing in urban and rural areas at the end of May, 46% disapproved and 30% approved of the amnesty that was proposed followed the adoption of the Chechen Republic's constitution.
The State Duma today passed a resolution declaring the amnesty in a 352 to 25 vote.
Sociologists asked people who should benefit from the amnesty. Over one third, 35%, did not know; 33% said that Russian servicemen alone should be amnestied; 31% believed it should apply to fighters on both sides; and 1% thought that only Chechen separatist fighters should be amnestied.
Asked how the situation in Chechnya will developed after the amnesty, 38% said that nothing will change, 25% expected the situation to deteriorate, and 15% hope that it will improve, while 22% could not predict anything at all.
Those who expected changes for the better hope that the amnesty will contribute to ending hostilities in Chechnya, the start of a peaceful life, a better attitude towards Russia on the part of Chechens, and improved trust.
Those who expected negative consequences fear the amnesty will result in intensified fighting and more terrorist attacks, because numerous rebel fighters will be allowed to go free, and the amnesty will be regarded as a sign of weakness.
Those who do not expect the amnesty to make any impact at all in Chechnya believe it will not solve any problems and "quite different steps are needed if the situation is to be normalized."