Optimism is on the rise in Russia. In a nationwide poll of 1,500 people taken at the end of December 1996, 29 percent of respondents said they expected to do better in 1997 than in 1996. In a similar poll taken at the end of 1994, only 22 percent were optimistic. The percentage of those expecting things to stay much the same was stable — 30 percent in 1996 as against 28 percent in 1994. The most striking change is the fall in those fearing that the coming year will be worse than the previous one. In 1994, the number was 37 percent; now it is down to 25 percent. (Interfax, January 16)
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