Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov

Most Russians 'don't care' about Western sanctions


EU candidate countries have joined the sanctions against Russia, which Brussels imposed on September 12. Montenegro, Iceland, Albania and Ukraine, as well as Liechtenstein, Norway and members of the European Economic Area have thus joined the EU sanctions against Russia, the Vedomosti reports.

It goes about the sanctions that restrict access for Russian banks and companies to the capital market of the EU. The sanctions also affect oil, aviation and defense industries.

In September, the EU expanded the sanctions against the legal entities that "conduct  transactions with separatist groups" in the Donbass, the report said. In addition, the European sanctions affected major Russian banks and state-owned companies, such as Sberbank, VTB, Gazprombank, Vnesheconombank, Agricultural Bank, Rosneft, Transneft, Gazprom Neft and  Uralvagonzavod.

Although most Russians believe that Western sanctions are directed against many layers of the Russian population, the restrictive measures have not created any significant problems for Russian citizens and their families.

A recent survey conducted by Levada Center among 1,600 Russians in 134 settlements of 46 regions of the country showed that the sanctions showed nearly no influence on the lives of ordinary Russians. The number of respondents, who believe that the current Western sanctions are directed against the general population, has been growing lately. In May of 2014, the percentage of those believing so was 27%;  in June - 31%, in September - already 41%.

Accordingly, the number of those, who believe that the sanctions are directed against a narrow circle of people in charge of Russia's policies in Ukraine, has significantly decreased. In May, this view was shared by 42% of the population, in June - 35%, and in September - 30%.

According to the Izvestia newspaper, the majority of respondents (79%) believe that the sanctions have not created any problems either for their families or for themselves. As many as  16% said that they could feel the impact of the measures.

According to 40% of the Russians believe that the Russian leadership makes the right decision compensating the affected companies and banks from the budget. Almost the same amount of people (39%) do not support this decision. Sixty percent of respondents believe that Russia should punish the West accordingly: to arrest accounts and assets of foreign companies or states that benefit from the sanctions against Russian companies. Seventeen percent of respondents did not support such an idea, reports.

The survey also showed that 58% of Russians accept the idea of boycott of foreign goods.  According to Deputy Director of Levada Center, Alexei Grazhdankin, they are mostly elderly people with low incomes. The boycott idea is not so popular among those with high level of income, he added.

Fifty-nine percent of Russians believe that sanctions of the West and Russia's response to them would be only beneficial to the Russian economy. Twenty- five percent think of the opposite.