Interfax: Over 80% of Russians sure army can deter military threat – poll

File Photo of Tanks on Parade

MOSCOW. Feb 20 (Interfax) – Over half of Russians (58%) believe in the existence of a military threat posed by other countries, Levada Center told Interfax, adding that the indicator had notably declined in the past two years from 68% in 2015.

Some 34% of 1,600 respondents polled in 137 populated localities in 48 regions on January 20-23 maintained the opposite (vs. 22% in 2015).

The feeling of a military threat “grew during escalation of military conflicts and standoffs in which Russia was involved either practically or symbolically,” the sociologists said. “That happened in relation to the reported prospective deployment of missile defense systems in Poland and the Czech Republic in 2008-2009, the armed conflicts and fears of their evolvement in North Africa and the Middle East in 2012, and the conflict in southeastern Ukraine in recent years,” Levada Center said.

Some 84% of the respondents are sure that the Russian Armed Forces can protect the country if the military threat turns real (60% in 2014). Ten percent do not think so, and 6% are hesitant.

“One may explain a certain decline in the confidence in the Russian army’s defense capability in 2013 (to 57%) with the corruption scandals at the Defense Ministry, which led to Minister Anatoly Serdyukov’s resignation,” it said.

The poll also showed that 28% of respondents did not mind the establishment of private military companies in Russia, while the idea was not popular with 54% of the respondents, and another 19% percent were undecided.