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Russians fear NATO eastward enlargement - poll

File Photo of NATO Meeting
file photo
MOSCOW. Nov 30 (Interfax) - The majority of Russians do not doubt that NATO's eastward enlargement poses a danger to their country, with only few Russians seeing the North-Atlantic alliance as an ally, sociologists found. Russians are divided on the question of what NATO is to our country: 34% of respondents are convinced that the bloc is posing a threat to Russia's security, and the same percentage (34%) of respondents believe there is no real danger from NATO, but nor is this organization an ally of our country. A minority called NATO Russia's partner, sociologists from VTsIOM, a pollster, told Interfax after conducting a nationwide survey.

The poll was conducted among 1,600 people in 138 towns across 46 Russian regions on October 22-23.

The opinion that NATO is posing a threat to our country is held primarily by supporters of A Just Russia (47%), the Russian Communist Party (42%) and non-parliamentary parties (46%), as well as Moscow and St. Petersburg residents (53%). Residents of small towns (41%) see no danger emanating from the bloc.

NATO's enlargement eastwards is still worrying the majority of our population: currently, 59% of respondents believe it poses a threat to Russian security, although two years ago their percentage was 62%. This opinion is particularly characteristic of the supporters of A Just Russia (79%), Moscow and St. Petersburg residents (73%), and Russians nearing the retirement age and older (62%-65%).

At the same time, the percentage of those who are certain that NATO's eastward enlargement is no threat to our country has increased from 15% in 2009 to 21% now, according to VTsIOM. This position is typical of the electorate of non-parliamentary parties (26%) and respondents ages 25-34 (26%).

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