Foreign military threat real, most Russians believe – poll

Topol-M intercontinental ballistic missiles during a parade marking the 69th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War, on Moscow's Red Square. (RIA Novosti/Alexander Vilf)
Some 68 percent of Russian citizens hold that the likelihood of foreign military aggression towards their country has increased. At the same time, 49 percent consider the current state of Russian military as ‘good’.

The research conducted by the government owned agency VTSIOM in mid-February among 1,600 respondents in 132 cities and towns across Russia. According to the poll, the ‘foreign threat index’ is currently at a record high – the number of Russians who think an unspecified foreign military threat is real rose from 52 percent year ago to 68 percent. The share of those who doubt in the existence of such threat has fallen from 42 percent a year ago to 28 percent.

The share of positive appraisals of the Russian military has also grown – 49 percent of the audience describes the current state of the forces as good compared to 24 percent in 2014. Another 40 percent answered that the Russian military is strong enough to repel threats, but still needs improvement. The percentage of responders who gave a negative appraisal of the forces’ condition fell from 14 percent to just 6 percent over the same period.

However, 40 percent of Russians said that the strength of the country’s military forces must be increased. Forty-two percent see no such urge and 7 percent that the ranks of the military can be slashed. The share of those who wanted their close relatives to join the military was equal with the share of those who rejected the idea – 47 percent.

The number of Russians with negative attitude towards the US and EU has hit its highest in modern history, with 36 percent wanting their country to further distance itself from the West, according to the latest poll.

READ MORE: Anti-West sentiment in Russia hits all-time high

In late January this year, major independent pollster Levada Center released the results of its own poll that showed that the record number of Russians confessed to negative attitude to Western nations.

The number of Russians who claimed their negative attitude to the United States rose to 81 percent compared to 44 percent a year ago. About 71 percent of those polled claimed a negative attitude to the European Union (up from 34 percent). Some 24 percent said that the EU and Russian Federation were in hostile relations, compared to just 1 percent in January 2014.

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