Hillary who? Russians skeptical about Clinton as future US president, poll shows

ARCHIVE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Moscow (Reuters / Sergey Pyatakov)
Most Russians know nothing about Hillary Clinton as a politician, a poll shows. Of those who are aware of her political ambitions, most fear that her election could aggravate relations between Russia and US and worsen the overall situation.

The research, released this week by Russian government-owned polling agency VTSIOM, shows that 41 percent of Russians know nothing about former US Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The poll was conducted in late April this year, over a week after Clinton announced her campaign for the US presidency. Only 19 percent of Russians said they knew about this fact.

Most respondents, 26 percent, described her as “former US First Lady” and 9 percent as “a US politician.” Other answers included “US Secretary of State”, “an American” and “an Enemy of Russia.” A further 9 percent said they had trouble finding an answer.

Of those who said they knew something about Hillary Clinton, 42 percent confessed a negative attitude towards her, 17 percent said their attitude was positive and 41 percent said they found it difficult to answer.

When the same group was asked how Hillary Clinton’s election as president could affect relations between Russia and the United States, 34 percent answered that they expected no change, 28 percent said they would deteriorate and 18 percent said some improvement was expected. Some 20 percent said they found it difficult to answer this question.

The head of VTSIOM, Valery Fyodorov, said in comments with Kommersant daily that the largely negative attitude towards Clinton could be explained by the fact that most Russians see her as part of Barack Obama’s administration, responsible for introducing anti-Russian sanctions.

Russians see no positive figures among US politicians as the latter send no signals of readiness to review the US policies towards Russia, the researcher said.

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Research released by the independent polling center Levada earlier this month showed that 59 percent of Russians currently perceive the United States as a general threat to their country. The share of Russians who don’t see any threat coming from the US is now at 32 percent.

When asked to elaborate on the possible nature of Russia-US antagonism, 48 percent said the United States was intentionally creating various barriers in order to hinder Russia’s development. Thirty-one percent said they feared a US military invasion on Russian territory and 31 percent thought the US was imposing alien ideas and values on their country through non-military means.

Twenty-four percent of respondents said they feared the US could impose direct control over Russia’s political course.