On September 20, the website Grani.ru, citing Interfax, reported the results of a September 17-19 poll taken in Moscow by the All Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM). “An overwhelming number of Muscovites (71 percent),” the website noted, “opposed the [unilateral] introduction of Russian forces into Georgia to seek out Chechen rebels. By contrast, 22 percent supported such a scenario.” “More than half of Muscovites (56 percent),” the report continued, “did not approve the bombing of the Pankisi Gorge in Georgia…. However, more than a third of the respondents (37 percent) had no objections to such a step.” Finally, “64 percent would approve of a joint Russian-Georgian operation to liquidate the bases of the Chechen rebels in the Pankisi Gorge region of Georgia. A quarter of the residents of the Russian capital (25 percent) were, by contrast, opposed.”
The newspaper Free Georgia conducted a poll of residents of Georgia concerning their attitude toward President Putin’s ultimatum to the Georgian leadership concerning the situation in the Pankisi Gorge. Eighty-eight percent of the respondents said that they were “indignant” over Putin’s ultimatum. Three percent stated that they would support a joint Russian-Georgian operation in the gorge. Nine percent expressed no interest in the question (reported in Novaya Gazeta, no. 68, September 16).