Fear of Russia on decline in G7 – survey
Russia isn’t the top security concern for residents of the countries in the G7 club of the top Western economies anymore, a study by the Munich Security Conference (MSC), one of the world’s leading forums on security issues, has revealed.
Moscow, which had been viewed as the main threat by the citizens of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK and the US in 2022, dropped to fourth place in the list last year, according to the Munich Security Index, which was published on Monday.
Russia’s military operation against Ukraine “marked a Zeitenwende [turning point] across G7 countries. But two years on, there are signs that its impact on risk perceptions is tempering,” the paper stressed.
The conflict between Moscow and Kiev and the overall geopolitical struggle “still shape citizens’ views of other countries, but less intensely than last year,” it added.
According to the study, such issues as climate change, radical Islamic terrorism, migration and cyberattacks were among those that worried the public in separate G7 countries more than the alleged Russian threat.
The most significant decline in concerns regarding Russia had been registered in Germany and Italy, where the sentiment rankings dropped to 7th and 12th place, respectively.
The Americans said that they believed cyberattacks, political polarization and China posed bigger threats to their country than Moscow, the Munich Security Index suggested.
The only two nations in the group where Russia was still No.1 in the list of the most pressing threats in 2023 were the UK and Japan, it added.
As for Ukraine, it’s “still considered an ally” by the people in the G7 countries, “but to a lesser extent than last year,” the study stated.
The MSC survey was based on representative samples of around 1,000 people from each of the G7 countries.
In his interview last week with American journalist Tucker Carlson, Russian President Vladimir Putin again stressed that Moscow has no plans for aggression against the West and NATO.
The US and their allies are “trying to intimidate their own population with an imaginary Russian threat,” Putin said, adding that “smart people understand perfectly well that that is false.”
Carlson asked the Russian leader if he could “imagine a scenario where you send Russian troops to Poland,” with Putin replying that “it may only happen if there is an attack on Russia from Poland. Why? Because we have no interests in Poland, Latvia or any other [NATO member].”