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Russians see economic trouble as root of ethnic tensions - poll

Riot Police Dragging Civilian Amidst CrowdMoscow, 27 December: A little more than half of the Russian population, or 51 per cent, and 80 per cent of Muscovites have felt an increase in ethnic tensions in society, shows a public opinion poll conducted by the Levada Centre in 45 regions of the country on 17-21 December.
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A total of 63 per cent of Russians blamed the tensions in society primarily on economic problems. Only 38 per cent of respondents said that this was a purely ethnic issue.

The level of irritation and hostility felt by Muscovites towards people from the southern republics (presumably Central Asia and the South Caucasus) remains high. A total of 31 per cent of Russians and 27 per cent of Muscovites admitted to feeling irritation and hostility, respectively, towards people from these countries. Less that 1 per cent said that they felt sympathy towards such migrants.

Across the country, such hostile emotions get far less evident. A total of 57 per cent of respondents said they did not feel any special emotions towards representatives of South Caucasus republics living in Moscow.

Another 15 per cent were feeling hostility and 14 per cent were experiencing irritation.

Some 52 per cent of Russians and 71 per cent of Muscovites said that illegal migrants had to be expelled from Russia. Some 27 per cent said that they should be legalized and offered assistance with finding jobs and integrating into Russian society.

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