Survey: Most Bulgarians Oppose Imposition of New Sanctions Against RussiaSociety | March 16, 2015, Monday // 13:07| views
According to the latest survey of Alpha Research, the majority of Bulgarians – 61 % oppose the imposition of new sanctions against Russia, while 39 % support their extension.
The survey, which was released on Monday, examines the social attitudes of Bulgarians on the country's foreign policy, the conflict between Russia and Ukraine and the national security.
Bulgarians continue to like Russia, but do not believe that it could serve as their model for development.
Moreover, Bulgarians consider that the country's EU and NATO membership provides more reliable guarantees for its prosperity and security.
Despite the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in Ukraine, the Bulgarians' emotional attachment to Russia remains strong.
The events in the past year have divided Bulgarian society, as 54 % have retained their positive attitude towards Russia, while 40 % express negative attitude towards Moscow.
The main age groups criticising Russia's involvement in Ukraine are the residents of the capital and those aged 18-30, while people above 60 remain the core of supporters of Russian policy.
Although Bulgarians are traditionally contained towards the country's participation in military alliances, the majority backs its NATO membership.
For 42 % of Bulgarians, NATO membership is important for the country's security and defence, while 22 % see it as harmful.
More than half of Bulgarians – 53 % think that Bulgaria has to fulfill all its the commitments pertaining to a loyal member, while only 14 % state that the country should leave NATO.
Three quarters of Bulgarians (74 %) assess the country's foreign policy on the Ukrainian conflict as being moderate and balanced.
Roughly an equal number of Bulgarians - 12 % criticise the country as being too aggressive against Russia and as being one of the EU hawks, while 10 % see it as being too loyal to Russia.
At a hypothetical referendum, 63 % would vote for retaining the country's EU and NATO orientation, while one third (33 %) would opt for reorientation to Russia and the Eurasian Union.
The sympathisers of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), nationalist Ataka and left-wing ABV are the only groups who are more supportive of pursuing foreign policy union with Russia.
In the past year, there has been a radicalisation of extreme political Russophiles (6-8 %), who unconditionally support Russia.
Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel are identified as the leaders, who are most capable of contributing to the positive outcome of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.
Three quarters of Bulgarians (75 %) see Islamic State (IS) as posing a greater threat to the country rather than the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.