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Most Russians Say They Are Unaffected and 'Unworried' by Western Sanctions — Poll

Andrei Luybimov / Moskva News Agency

The majority of Russians surveyed by the independent Levada Center say they have not been negatively affected by Western sanctions, despite feeling increasingly isolated from the international community.

Russia has been targeted by several waves of political and economic sanctions following its 2014 annexation of the Crimean peninsula from Ukraine and support for separatist forces in southeastern Ukraine. In response, the Kremlin has imposed countermeasures including an import ban on certain foods from the European Union, the United States and other countries.

Seventy-eight percent of Levada’s respondents said they and their families had not encountered major problems because of Western sanctions, the pollster said Monday.

According to the poll, Russians seem to have greeted the punitive economic measures with a collective shrug, with 68 percent of respondents saying they are “completely unworried” or “not too worried” about them.

Meanwhile, a growing number of Russians agree with the assertion that their country is internationally isolated, but a majority say they are not worried by the prospect.

Faced with a range of options, most respondents said they felt Westerners treated Russians with fear, contempt and alarm.  

Levada director Lev Gudkov called the numbers unprecedented “historic highs” in comments to the Vedomosti business daily.

“This attitude is spreading through channels that aren’t affected by propaganda and is taking on indirect forms,” he was cited as saying.

Levada conducted the poll among 1,600 people in 52 Russian regions between April 20 and April 24.

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