Russians Blame Arab World Unrest On Low Living Standards - Poll

Arab Protesters Including Some Atop TankMoscow, 2 March: An overwhelming majority of Russians (86 per cent) are aware of current developments in the Arab world. A total of 35 per cent out of that number have attentively followed the events. Some 51 per cent have a general idea about the situation, according to a poll conducted by the VTsIOM public opinion research agency in February.

Some 9 per cent of Russians know nothing about the unrest in Arab countries.

Russians who are aware of the Arab world unrest think that the main cause of it is low living standards of the population (45 per cent). The second most popular opinion is that it was caused by political reasons, with 14 per cent saying that it was due to stagnation in the country and 13 per cent evoking tough authoritarian regimes. Some 8 per cent said they were convinced that high levels of corruption prompted the protests. A majority of Russians blamed the protests on provocations by the Western special services (2 per cent) and actions of Islamists (1 per cent).

Asked about those who actively demonstrated in Egypt, Russians mostly said that the entire population, regardless of their social status, age and faith, had taken part (33 per cent). Some 22 per cent said that the backbone of the demonstrators included poor people fighting for decent living standards.

Some 12 per cent said that various categories of the population were involved, including young people (5 per cent), jobless people and the working class (3 per cent each) and Islamists (2 per cent).

Some 9 per cent of Russians said that the demonstrators mostly included opposition activists (6 per cent), professional campaigners and provocateurs (3 per cent).

As to what life in the Arab world could be like after the unrest is over, a relative majority of Russians (38 per cent) spoke of positive changes, saying that the authorities would finally listen to what the people thought. Some 24 per cent said that the protests would only make the situation worse for people.

Some 19 per cent said it was possible that nothing would happen as a result of the mass unrest in the Arab world.

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