The Kremlin’s apparent plans to support, if not actively participate in, the U.S.-led campaign against international terrorism would seem to have growing support among ordinary Russians. A telephone survey carried out yesterday during the weekly Itogi program on TV-6 found that 39 percent of the 4,000 people who called in felt Russia should provide military assistance, while 49 percent said Russia should render only political and diplomatic support and 12 percent said it should not get involved in any way. In a similar poll taken by TV-6 last week, only 25 percent said they favored military assistance while 25 percent said Russia should not get involved at all (TV-6, September 23).
The results of polls taken immediately after the September 11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and released last week indicated that a vast majority of the Russian people sympathize with the victims of those attacks. In a poll taken September 15-16 by one of Russia’s leading polling agencies, the Public Opinion Foundation, 77 percent of the 1,500 respondents across Russia used words like “pity,” “sympathy,” “fear” and “shock” to describe their emotions upon first hearing about the attacks. Some respondents said they had cried for the victims while others said that the terrorists who perpetrated the acts should be “crushed” or “torn to pieces.” Only 8 percent of the respondents said they did not care about the attacks, while 14 percent found the questions about the attacks hard to answer. Asked whether they had experienced any satisfaction over the attacks and whether the United States had gotten what it deserved, 72 percent answered “no” while 7 percent said they had experienced “strong” satisfaction and 15 percent said they had experienced “weak” satisfaction. Thirty-six percent of those who said they had experienced satisfaction over the attacks described themselves as supporters of Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov (FOM.ru, September 20).
In a poll conducted September 12-14 by the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) among 400 Muscovites, 61 percent of the respondents said they did not believe the United States “deserved” the September 11 attacks in revenge for the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Iraq and Yugoslavia, while 35 percent said the Americans got what they deserved. Thirty-two percent of those polled said they would view U.S. bombing raids on terrorist training camps with “approval,” 29 percent said they would view such retaliation with “understanding” while 26 percent said they would oppose such a U.S. response. Two-thirds of the Muscovites polled would not support a more generalized bombardment of countries that harbor terrorists. Asked whether Russia should support U.S. retaliation if it turns out that Islamic extremists were responsible for the September 11 attacks, the respondents were practically split down the middle: 17 percent said definitely yes, 26 percent said probably yes, 21 percent said definitely not and 26 percent said probably not. Ten percent found it hard to answer (VTsIOM, September 18).
ZHIRINOVSKY BLAMES U.S. OIL COMPANIES, CIA FOR SEPTEMBER 11 ATTACKS.