2005-03-25 (22:10) * RUSSIA * BALTICS * OPINION PROBE *
MOSCOW (RIA Novosti) - Approximately two thirds of the Russian population think the post-Soviet Baltic countries are biased against Russia. 64 % said so with reference to Latvia. The same opinion concerning Lithuania and Estonia came from 61 % for either country.
The figures come from a probe the Public Opinion foundation made, March 19 into 20, in a hundred settlements of 44 Russian Federation constituent entities-regions, territories and republics. 1,500 respondents were interviewed in their residence places. 600 Muscovites also answered supplementary questionnaires. Statistical error is within 3.6 %.
A mere 14-15 % of respondents referred to the three Baltic countries as friendly. More than a half-56 %, to be precise-would like relations with them to improve, while 11 % were dead set against whatever rapprochement.
Roughly a half of respondents had paid attention to information about the Lithuanian and Estonian presidents refusing to come to Moscow for V-E Day 60th anniversary galas. 34 % said they knew it. "We've heard something like that," said another 19 %. A spectacular 45 % had no idea of the matter, and the interview was the first instance on which they heard the news.
Only a half of the respondents chose to answer what, they thought, underlay the refusal. Some ascribed it to a post-Soviet Baltic public prejudice against V-E celebrations. 10 % highlighted nationalist and pro-fascist moods widespread in those countries. 8 % alleged a public bias against Russia and ethnic Russians. 2 % accused the post-Soviet Baltics of arrogance and bloated ambition. 8 % said those countries regarded Russia not as their liberator in World War II but as aggressor. 1 % pointed out their grudges against Russia, stored since the past.
A mere 27 % of the respondents said the Soviet Union had incorporated the three Baltic countries against their will. 34 % were sure those countries had voluntarily joined the USSR. A mere 9 % said the Soviet years were bad to those three countries. 65 % are sure the Soviet rule was to their benefit.
76 % qualified the presidents' refusal to attend Moscow galas as an unfriendly move, while only 11 % think otherwise.