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(10/02/05) -

Russians Ponder Unification with Ukraine, Belarus

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the Russian Federation would welcome the creation of a new country with a neighbouring former Soviet Republic, according to a poll by the Yury Levada Analytical Center. 71 per cent of respondents believe forming a single state encompassing Russia and Ukraine would be positive.

(Angus Reid Global Scan) – Many adults in the Russian Federation would welcome the creation of a new country with a neighbouring former Soviet Republic, according to a poll by the Yury Levada Analytical Center. 71 per cent of respondents believe forming a single state encompassing Russia and Ukraine would be positive.

In Ukraine, a series of public demonstrations took place in Kiev after the November 2004 presidential run-off. The Ukrainian Supreme Court eventually invalidated the results of the second round, and ordered a special re-vote. In late December, opposition candidate Viktor Yushchenko received 51.99 per cent of all cast ballots, defeating prime minister Viktor Yanukovych. Russian president Vladimir Putin openly backed Yanukovych in the election.

In July, Putin voiced his support for a proposed economic unification of Russia and Belarus, saying, “Russia needs the union. We need it in a geopolitical sense and most important of all, we are a single nation on the whole. (…) In a broad sense, we are a single nation and we will only benefit if we unite, having gained advantages in relations with other countries.”

Putin and Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko signed a bilateral treaty in late 1999, where the two nations agreed to eventually merge their tax systems and currencies. An actual constitution for the proposed union has not been drafted. 40 per cent of Russian respondents prefer a union with Belarus, while 18 per cent would choose Ukraine.

Polling Data

What is your opinion on the association of Russia and Ukraine into a single state?

Positive

71%

Negative

24%

Not interested

8%

Hard to answer

7%

Which is more preferable for you? A union with Ukraine or a union with Belarus?

With Belarus

40%

With Ukraine

18%

Neither

22%

Hard to answer

7%

Source: Yury Levada Analytical Center
Methodology: Interviews to 1,600 Russian adults, conducted from Sept. 16 to Sept. 19, 2004. No margin of error was provided.