Russians And Ukrainians Develop Mutual Hatred Because Of Gas Conflict

MOSCOW, Russia -- Opinion polls conducted in Russia and Ukraine showed that both Russians and Ukrainians changed their attitudes to each other because of the gas dispute.

Russian and Ukrainian sociologists say that the level of sympathy between the brotherly Slavic nations has reduced considerably lately. The number of those Russians who treat Ukraine positively has dropped in comparison with December 2005: from 60 to 54 percent. Consequently, the share of those who describe their attitude to Ukraine and Ukrainians as negative has raised from 29 to 34 percent.

This information was revealed by the Analytical Center of Yury Levada, specialists of which polled 1600 Russians all across Russia. The poll included questions about the recent gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine.

Forty percent of Russians believe that the gas crisis between the two countries took place because of Ukraine's fault. One-third of the polled said that both Ukrainian and Russian administrations were guilty of the crisis. Russians split in their opinions regarding the end of the gas conflict. Twenty percent of respondents said that Russia managed to win the fight, whereas 12 percent believe that the victory in the dispute belongs to Ukraine. Twenty percent said that no one won the natural gas war.

Ukrainian sociologists conducted a similar poll. The research also revealed a certain coolness in the relations between the two Slavic nations. Over 26 percent of the polled Ukrainians said that their attitude to Ukraine worsened after the gas conflict with Russia. The respondents acknowledged that they did not have any negative feelings about Russia before the scandal. More than 41 percent of the polled Ukrainians said that their attitude to Russia remained unchanged, positive that is.

Almost 30 percent of the polled believe that the gas conflict occurred because of Russia's wish to influence the results of the forthcoming parliamentarian elections in Ukraine. Others (25.4%) think that Russia simply wanted to earn more money on natural gas. Twenty-three percent of respondents believe that Russia wanted to punish Ukraine to its independent policies. Twenty-two percent of the polled Ukrainians acknowledged, however, that the gas crisis with Russia occurred because of the incorrect position of the Ukrainian administration during the talks.

The poll was conducted on January 15th across major Ukrainian cities.

Andrei Zorin, an Oxford University professor of Russian history, believes that the worsening of relations between the two brotherly nations is based on historical reasons. "It seems that the population of Russia and its administration start to realize that the state organization in Ukraine is inevitable. This painful process evokes certain complexes," the Kommersant newspaper quoted the professor as saying.

Source: Pravda