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20% of Russians say 2005 was better than 2004

MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti) - One-fifth of Russians surveyed by an independent pollster in December said 2005 was less troublesome that the previous year.

According to the Levada Center, 45% of respondents said the outgoing year was much the same as 2004, whereas 34% said this year was more difficult for their families than the previous year.

In a similar survey a year ago, 40% of respondents qualified 2004 as a difficult year.

Asked what personal advantages 2005 had brought to them, 16% named happiness at home, 12% said they had been promoted or found a decent job and 10% were grateful for new acquaintances, promotions, academic progress for their loved ones, major purchases or impressive presents.

The survey also found that nine percent of respondents would remember this year because it had brought an increase in income, but 21 said nothing good had happened to them in 2005.

Seventeen percent complained about a decline in their incomes, illnesses and the death of a loved one and 15% named health problems as their main difficulty of the year, whereas 28% said nothing bad had happened to them in 2005.

More than 50% said this year was no worse or better than 2004. However, 26%, 8% fewer than in 2004, said 2005 was more difficult for the country than the previous year. Twenty-three percent of those surveyed said this year went smoother than 2004, 5% more than those who agreed in 2004.

The survey covered 1,600 people in 128 towns in 46 regions across Russia.