Moscow, July 13, Interfax - Two thirds of Russians are aware of the existence of the Islamic State, and half of them see this extremist organization as a threat to Russia's and the world's security, the Public Opinion Foundation reported after polling 1,500 respondents in 104 populated areas in 53 regions of Russia on July 4-5.
The sociologists found that 62% of the respondents know or have heard something about the Islamic State; the number of those aware has nearly doubled from 39% since September 2014, while the share of those who heard about it for the first time has dropped significantly to 34% from 54% in September 2014.
A higher share of those aware of the IS is among Muscovites (76%) and respondents with higher incomes, a higher education and men (71% each). At the same time, 45% of young people aged from 18 to 30, 52% of people having low incomes, and 44% of Muslims had not previously heard about the Islamic State.
As many as 30% of those polled associate the Islamic State with terrorism, extremism, killings, threats, and intimidation, another 7% believe the IS is propagating Islam's supremacy in the world and the establishment of an Islamic caliphate, 6% think the IS members are seeking to seize territories and establish their control over them, and 5% see the IS' main objective as the recruitment and training of followers from different countries.
Half of the respondents - 50% - see the IS as a threat to international security (27% in September 2014) and 41% as a threat to Russia's security (22%), with 15% holding the opposite view. Only 6% have a favorable view of the IS.
As many as 28% of the respondents supported Russia's decision to combine its efforts with Western countries in combating the IS, and another 8% spoke in favor of Russia's independent actions against the extremists, while 15% are sure that Russia should not interfere in the events in the Middle East.
The Islamic State (known until 2014 as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) is a terrorist organization that has acted on Iraqi and Syrian territory since 2006. In June 2014, IS fighters launched a large-scale offensive on Iraqi territory, having taken nearly one third of the country under their control. After that, the IS declared the establishment of an Islamic caliphate on Iraqi and Syrian territories and called on all Muslims to swear allegiance to a new caliph.
IS members are notorious for their brutal executions, videos of which they have posted online.