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Fewer Russians support Georgia’s separatist regimes

By M. Alkhazashvili
Thursday, March 6
A prominent Russian polling outfit surveyed Russian citizens in February and found that fewer are voicing support for the Abkhazian and South Ossetian separatist regimes.

The Yuri Levada Analytical center polled 1600 Russian citizens from February 22–25, asking what they’d like to see happen to Georgia’s two breakaway regions.

26 percent of respondents said the two self-declared republics should become fully independent states, according to the news agency Regnum, down from 32 percent in the same survey last year. 33 percent said Abkhazia and South Ossetia should be annexed into Russia, down from 39 percent in the previous poll.

The declining sympathy for the separatist regimes is not due to more love for Georgia—this country is regularly named as one of the top three enemies to Russia in public opinion polls. Only 11 percent of the Levada Center’s respondents thought Abkhazia and South Ossetia should return to Georgian control.

But maybe Moscow’s message on Kosovo is sinking in. While some Russian politicians advocate recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia in retaliation for the West’s recognition of Kosovo in February, the Kremlin has so far held back from perpetuating what it says is a dangerous breakdown in the international order.

Russians by and large agree with the dangers of a Kosovo precedent—and that may be inadvertently supporting Georgia’s cause.