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Russians Still Fear Terrorist Acts - Opinion Poll

Moscow, 30 August: Three-quarters of Russians (73 per cent) said in an August poll by the Levada Centre that they feared falling victim to a terrorist act. Only some 9 per cent were certain that something like that could never happen to them or their family and friends. Another 14 per cent of respondents were undecided.

The level of citizens' confidence that the authorities will be able to defend the population against new terrorist acts is relatively low, public opinion experts told Interfax today. Some 38 per cent of respondents believed that the authorities and the special services would be capable of ensuring such protection. Another 62 per cent of respondents had no such confidence.

Two-thirds of Russians (63 per cent) considered it necessary to continue with the use of force in operations against militants, without starting any negotiations with them.

According to 67 per cent of respondents, the key point in a hostage crisis is to avoid bloodshed at any cost, even if terrorists' demands may have to be met in this case.

Some 22 per cent of respondents said they were certain that terrorists should not be allowed to dictate their terms and had to be destroyed even if this could lead to more casualties.

Asked about the events in Beslan in September 2004 during which terrorists took more than 1,000 people hostage, some 48 per cent of Russians still said they thought that the authorities had told them only a part of the truth about the tragedy, in which 330 people died. About 24 per cent of respondents thought that the truth was still being hidden from them. Another 5 per cent of respondents accused the authorities of deliberately misleading the population. Only 11 per cent of Russians believed that they had been told all the truth about the Beslan events.

Some 49 per cent of respondents believe that the authorities did their best to save the Beslan school hostages. Another 34 per cent of respondents disagreed with this opinion.

The poll was conducted in 130 settlements in 45 regions of the country.

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