Russians’ attitude to Western nations continues to deteriorate - poll

Opening of the GUM Skating Rink and GUM Fair at Moscow's Red Square © 
Evgenya Novozhenina
An overwhelming majority of Russians profess increasingly negative feelings about the USA, the EU and other Western nations, a poll shows. At the same time, 65 percent of respondents think Russia should stay its independent course regardless of sanctions.

The research conducted by the independent polling center Levada in late November shows the proportion of Russians with a negative attitude to the United States increased from 68 percent to 70 percent over the past two months. Negative attitudes to the European Union remained at 70 percent, while negativity towards Ukraine increased from 56 percent to 63 percent.

The results are still lower than the data from January this year when negative attitudes to Western nations reached all-time high. However, researchers register the change in tendency about two months back – now the number of people with negative sentiments about the West is growing again.

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

Some 54 percent of respondents said Russia was right when it expected aggressive actions on the part of the NATO bloc, while 36 percent said such approach was wrong. At the same time, 51 percent of Russians said NATO shouldn’t fear their country and 39 percent said such fear would be justified.

Levada researcher Karina Pipiya told Izvestia daily that the increasing negative attitude towards Western countries was caused primarily by the latest political actions of their leaders. She also noted that more Russians think that the relations with the West must be repaired. She said that this must be due to the fact that the poll took place after the downing of the Russian jet liner in Egypt and terrorist attacks in Paris – people understand better that Russia and the West have a common enemy.

Now 75 percent of Russians said that their country should do more to improve the relations with the West and 70 percent favor additional efforts to improve relations with Ukraine.

At the same time, most Russians (65 percent) said their country should continue implementing independent policies. Those who said Russia needs to find a compromise that would lead to the lifting of mutual sanctions comprised just 26 percent. Some 58 percent of those polled answered that they didn’t expect any improvement in Russia-West relations anytime soon, noting that their country should learn to live in new economic conditions.

READ MORE: Majority of Russians say US administration ‘extremely hostile toward us’ - poll

The latest research results released by the other major Russian polling agency – government-owned VTSIOM - are similar to those mentioned by Levada. In late August, VTSIOM said the perception of the US in Russia had drastically deteriorated and 59 percent of respondents think the current Washington administration is extremely hostile toward Russia and its people. In February VTSIOM stated that about 68 percent of Russian citizens thought the likelihood of foreign military aggression towards their country has increased. At the same time, 49 percent considered the state of Russian military ‘good’.