Most of Russians against nuclear disarmament - poll


Senior Member
Oct 5, 2009
Most of Russians against nuclear disarmament - poll

The majority of Russians (60 percent) are against further nuclear disarmament, with numbers in favor dropping significantly since the end of the Soviet era, the Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) said on Thursday.

Half of Russians believe the country needs nuclear weapons to assure its security in case of war, according to VTsIOM's latest survey. A quarter said nuclear weapons should be preserved to demonstrate Russia's political power, with only 4 percent saying the stockpile is needed to counter U.S. military potential.

In 1991, almost half of Russians (48 percent) were in favor of nuclear disarmament, the pollster said. Now, the figure stands at 19 percent.

VTsIOM analyst Yulia Baskakova said the drop indicated that Russians no longer welcome disarmament as the country's defense potential has already decreased significantly since Soviet times. They believe that further cuts of nuclear stockpiles would pose a threat to Russia's security.

However, Baskakova said the figures also showed significant changes in Russians' mentality since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

"Then, there was a mass euphoria, many hoped that the fall of the Iron Curtain would bring universal peace and strengthen cooperation with other countries. But practice has showed that Russia has maintained its own interests in the political arena, and these do not always coincide with those of other nations - namely, a bid to maintain its place among great powers," she said.

When asked who benefited more from the signing of a new arms cuts treaty between Russia and the United States, 33 percent said both countries, 22 percent answered Washington, and 4 percent said Russia. More than a quarter of Russians (27 percent) said the pact benefited the entire world.

The treaty, signed by the Russian and U.S. presidents in Prague in April, stipulates that the number of nuclear warheads is to be reduced to 1,550 on each side, while the number of deployed and non-deployed delivery vehicles must not exceed 800 on each side. The document, which is now being considered by the two countries' parliaments, is to replace the START 1 treaty that expired in December 2009.

A total of 1600 people in 140 localities across Russia took part in the poll. The statistical margin of error is 3.4 percent.

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