MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) – Nearly a half of Russians support a broad prison amnesty approved by federal lawmakers earlier this month to mark the 20th anniversary of the Russian Constitution, an independent pollster said Friday.
A total of 46 percent of respondents spoke positively about the amnesty, while 31 percent said it was unnecessary, Levada Center said. Twenty-three percent had no answer.
Russians support the release of former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky (43 percent in favor, 26 percent against) and the decision to drop charges against a group of Greenpeace activists protesting against oil drilling in the Arctic (48 percent in favor, 24 percent against).
Russian society remains divided over the release of members of feminist punk group Pussy Riot (40 percent in favor, 41 percent against) and the prosecution of anti-corruption blogger Alexei Navalny (23 percent in favor, 28 percent against).
However, the majority of Russians (68 percent) do not support dropping charges against former high-ranking Russian defense officials, including ex-Minister Anatoly Serdyukov. Only 14 percent of respondents spoke in favor.
In a similar poll conducted by the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) shortly before the amnesty was announced, 33 percent of Russians expressed their support for the initiative and 36 percent were against.