A majority of respondents also believe that the government should not interfere with Russians fighting in east Ukraine
This article originally appeared at The Moscow Times
Sixty-five percent of Russians are supportive of their countrymen who are volunteering to fight alongside the rebels of eastern Ukraine, a recent survey by state pollster the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) revealed.
Only 16 percent of respondents believe that the Russians fighting there have been hired to do so, VTsIOM said in a statement Friday.
But the country is equally divided at 45 percent on whether they would positively or negatively view a friend or relative's decision to fight in the region as a volunteer.
One in five respondents (22 percent) said they disapprove of Russians volunteering to fight in eastern Ukraine. That figure increased to one in three among residents of Russia's two largest cities, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
More than half of respondents nationwide (57 percent) said the Russian government should not interfere with Russians fighting in east Ukraine.
Only 7 percent of the survey's 1,600 respondents said they personally know someone who has gone to fight in east Ukraine as a volunteer.
The pollster said the survey, conducted across 46 of Russia's regions on March 7 and 8, had a statistical margin of error that did not exceed 3.5 percent.