The evident public opinion mismatch in Russians' attitudes to Ukrainians and Ukrainians' attitudes to Russians may become a threat to Ukraine's national security, experts have warned, according to KyivPost.

A group of experts gave this opinion while commenting on the findings of a survey conducted by Kyiv's International Institute of Sociology and Russia's Levada-Center in 2009 for the Dzerkalo Tyzhdnya weekly newspaper.

According to the results of the poll, in March 2009 some 49% of Russians assessed their opinion of Ukraine as "bad" or "very bad". On the other hand, in February 2009 only 5% of Ukrainians said the same about Russia, and 91% had a positive view of Russia.

"The mismatch in the public opinion of Ukrainians and Russians regarding each other is dangerous, because if Russia decides to intervene in the internal affairs of Ukraine, as it did with Georgia, public opinion [might hypothetically] be used to support Russia's actions," Kyiv International Institute of Sociology Director Valeriy Khmelko said, commenting on the study.

On the other hand, he said that, according to the polls, as the negative view of Ukraine grows in Russia, less people wish the two countries to be united.

Director General of Ukrainian TVI channel Mykola Kniazhytsky also said the situation was potentially threatening.

"Information in Russia is controlled by the government. Ukraine here becomes a victim of its democracy… Such a mismatch in public opinion in the two countries is threatening to Ukraine's national security," he said.

"In our irrational politics, little attention is paid to forming and protecting the national self-identification of the Ukrainians," Kniazhytsky said. He said that Ukraine should establish public television, and produce more Ukrainian films to consolidate the nation.


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