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19 Dec, 2017 12:35

Russian attitudes to US and EU deteriorate, but more citizens want relations mended

Visitors at the Red Square decorated ahead of New Year.

Attitudes to the US and EU in Russia are getting worse, and fewer people are worried about their country’s supposed international isolation, a recent opinion poll has shown.

The proportion of Russians who expressed a negative attitude towards the United States had risen to 60 percent in early December, compared to 49 percent last January; according to research conducted by independent polling company, Levada-Center.

The number of respondents who said they were discontent with the policies of the European Union had also increased to 54 percent in the new poll from 47 percent last January.

Only 24 percent of Russians said they had positive feelings towards the US, while 28 percent said they were favorably disposed to the EU.

More Russians now hold the opinion that their country should begin to repair relations with the US and European nations, however. The proportion of respondents who held this view increased from 62 percent in September 2016 to 75 percent in the most recent poll. Accordingly, the number of Russians who subscribe to the opposite point of view fell by eight points to just 16 percent.

Asked if they were worried about the supposed international isolation of Russia, only 29 percent of respondents answered affirmatively, compared to 39 percent in August last year. Similarly, only a minority (28 percent compared to 39 percent in the previous poll) expressed concern about the political and economic sanctions imposed on Russia by Western countries.

A separate poll conducted by state-run agency VTSIOM in mid-July showed that fears related to inflation and possible depreciation of savings remain the most intense and widespread among Russians. Fears of military conflict were in second place, followed by concerns about health problems and various difficulties connected with access to healthcare.