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    RUSSIAN MAJORITY PREJUDICED AGAINST AMERICA, SHOWS OPINION PROBE

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    MOSCOW, APRIL 1 (RIA Novosti correspondent Nikolai Zherebtsov) - The USA's role in the contemporary world is "rather negative than positive", say 55 per cent of Russians-as against 48 per cent of three years ago. A mere 12 per cent approve the global US impact, against 27 per cent in 2001.

    The Public Opinion Foundation, one of Russia's leading sociological agencies, is circulating the figures today. They were obtained in opinion probes of May 26, 2001, and March 27, 2004. Random respondents were interviewed in their homes in a hundred urban and rural settlements of 44 constituent entities-regions, territories and republics-of the Russian Federation. The poll geography represented Russia's all geographic areas and economic zones. The statistical error was estimated at a ceiling 3.6 per cent.

    The respondents were asked to substantiate their opinions.

    Russians who like the United States pointed out its efforts to promote order and stability in the world, and combat terrorism and extremism (2%). An affluent country, the USA is doing much for R&D progress (1%). The USA is helping many countries, Russia among them, said another 1%. 5 per cent merely remarked that the USA was a good and strong country, good to learn from.

    Those prejudiced against America said it was imposing its will on other countries (21%). 15% came down on the USA for its aggressive foreign policies, and said it was unleashing wars. 5% referred to the Iraqi war in the context.

    The USA is a pernicious influence on many aspects of Russian life from the economy to culture, said 4% of the respondents. "They're spoiling us with their money"; "They are dumping their waste in Russia"; "Americans have trampled Russia underfoot-we are living on their patterns and following their customs"; "Sex and drugs-it's all from there"; "American movies and culture are a bad influence on us"; "They are undermining public morals"; "All their food is with preservatives. All viruses come to us from America," were just some of angry remarks.

    The USA is a bad influence on the global economy, said 1 per cent-"They are imposing their grain and other prices on the world"; "They are undermining other countries' economy," and, to crown it all, "The dollar has strangled us all."

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