More Russians see deterioration in Russian-Ukrainian relations - poll

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MOSCOW, September 22 (RIA Novosti) - A leading Russian research organization reported Thursday that there had been a significant increase in the number of Russians who thought relations with Ukraine were difficult.

A survey conducted by the Public Opinion fund showed that 50% of Russians said Russia-Ukraine relations were tense in September 2005, in contrast to 21% in January and 36% in March.

The share of respondents who held negative views on Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko also grew from 24% in March to 40% in September.

There was a clear gap in what the respondents thought about former Ukrainian premier Yuliya Tymoshenko: 42% took a negative view on her, whereas 12% were positive. Her dismissal on September 8 aroused more positive than negative responses (25% and 10% accordingly).

The Russian respondents were largely indifferent (53%) to the political changes in Ukraine.

The survey was conducted in 100 towns and cities in 44 Russian regions on August 17-18. It covered 1,500 respondents in the regions, and 600 people were also polled in Moscow. The margin of statistical error was 3.6%.

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