DW survey: Russians support Putin′s Middle East strategy | Europe| News and current affairs from around the continent | DW | 14.03.2012
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DW survey: Russians support Putin's Middle East strategy

Most Russians oppose military intervention in Syria. They view China as a partner and don't see the Arab Spring as model for protests in their own country. These are among the findings of a DW survey.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin

Majority of Russians back the Middle East strategy of Prime Minister Wladimir Putin

A significant majority of Russians support Vladimir Putin's course in the Syrian conflict and oppose military intervention, according to a DW-Trend survey. The Deutsche Welle's Russian department commissioned market research institute IFAK to conduct an opinion poll of 1,000 Russians between February 3 and March 3.

About 75 percent of the Russians interviewed for the survey are opposed to any military intervention to end bloodshed in the Syrian conflict. Only 9 percent of the respondents approve intervention but only if it is backed by a UN mandate. And just 5 percent back such a move without a UN mandate. Russians clearly support Putin's decision not to intervene in the Syrian conflict.

Although the majority of polled young people between the ages of 18 and 29 oppose military intervention, 19 percent of them approve such action with a UN mandate. Their support shows that younger Russians are more likely to recognize the UN as a legitimate body.

51 percent of Russians do not view the situation in the Middle East, with its many different facets, as a threat to their national security, versus 38 percent who do.

That said, views on the Middle East situation vary noticeably among age groups. The younger generation, for instance, is more relaxed about the situation in the Middle East. Some 44 percent of 18 to 39-year-olds are concerned, but an equal number see no danger in the unrest. By contrast, 57 percent of 40-year-olds view the Middle East conflicts as a threat to Russia.

Less clear is how Russians view the threat of a nuclear attact by Iran. Although 48 percent of the polled Russians see no threat if Iran should indeed posses a nuclear bomb, 42 percent view the nuclear ambitions of Iran as a very real threat to national security.

The survey also clearly revealed that Russians value the joint course that Russia and China have pursed in the Middle East as a partnership. Some 31 percent of the surveyed Russians see China as Russia's main ally in solving Middle East conflicts. Down the list of perceived allies is Germany at 19 percent and the European Union at 16 percent.

The Arab Spring, with Egypt as an example, is no model for Russia. Only 15 percent of Russians believe that the fall of the Mubarak regime will improve the lives of Egyptians.

Some 38 percent of Russians interviewed for the DW survey believe that living conditions for Egyptians are worse after the collapse of the Mubarak government than before. About half of the respondents have no idea of Egyptians' situation. As such, the Arab Spring in general and the situation in Egypt in particular cannot be expected to serve as a model for protests in Russia.

Authors. Markian Ostaptschuk, Sergey Govoruha / jrb
Editor: Joanna Impey

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