MOSCOW, August 12 (RIA Novosti) - Nearly eight in 10 Russians believe Georgia needs "a different, more worthy president," and a similar proportion views Russian-Georgian relations as damaged beyond repair, a poll released on Wednesday showed.
According to the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM), 79% of Russians think Georgia should change its president, while 11% respect Georgians' choice even though Saakashvili does not appeal to them personally. Only 2% of Russians feel sympathy and respect towards the Georgian president, while 9% did not answer.
Russians' views on relations with Georgia are similarly bleak, with 78% believing they are irreparably broken. Just 14% think things can be patched up, down from 40% five years ago. Eight percent of those surveyed did not give a response.
Several years of tension in Georgian-Russian relations boiled over last August when Georgia attacked South Ossetia. On August 8, 2008, Georgian troops carried out a ground and air assault on Tskhinvali, South Ossetia's capital, but were expelled by Russian forces in five days of fighting.
Russia subsequently recognized the independence of South Ossetia and another former Georgian republic, Abkhazia, causing Tbilisi to sever diplomatic relations with Moscow.
VTsIOM surveyed 1,600 people in 42 Russian regions, giving a margin of error of not more than 3.4%.