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Russians dread U.S., NATO less then previously - poll

NATO MeetingMOSCOW. Feb 4 (Interfax) - More than two thirds of Russian citizens (70%) think, as they did two and a half years ago, that Russia has enemies, an opinion poll suggests.

Thirty-four percent of respondents polled by the Levada Center in January pointed at Chechen militants, 28% at the United States and 23% at NATO as Russia's chief enemies.

The black list of Russia's principle enemies has not changed since August 2009, but the degree of respondents' aggressiveness has somewhat abated.

The percentage of those who are concerned about the animosity of Chechen militants has gone down from 47% to 34%, of the U.S. from 51% down to 28%, NATO from 34% to 23%, China from 13% to 9%, and Baltic states, Ukraine and Georgia from 38% to 13%.

Even the oligarchs vex Russians much less now than in 2009 (14%, compared to 19%).

But sociologists note Russian citizens' growing fears regarding "certain political forces in the West" (21% compared to 14% in 2009) and also muslins and Islamic fundamentalists (19% compared to 15%).

Russians feel more loyal now about the European Union than the U.S. and 70% of respondents said their attitude to the EU was positive (compared to 16%, opposed to the EU), and 60% said they felt good about the U.S. (compared to 28% opposed).

The poll was conducted in 130 populated areas of 45 Russian regions.

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