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8 Jun, 2022 08:35

Poll reveals Russians’ attitude to NATO

People overwhelmingly dislike the military bloc, and the number of those who believe an open war is possible is growing
Poll reveals Russians’ attitude to NATO

The majority of Russians dislike NATO, with the antipathy growing lately, according to an opinion poll released by the Levada Center on Monday. People are also increasingly concerned of an open war with the military alliance.

A staggering 82% of Russians expressed a negative attitude towards NATO during the survey in May, compared to 78% in March and 76% two years ago, the report said. More than half said they had “very bad” feelings about the alliance, while 26% described their attitude as “somewhat bad”. Zero percent said they had “very good” feelings about the military bloc.

The older the Russians are, the more likely they are to have negative feelings about NATO, the poll suggested. But even among the 18-24 age bracket, 73% perceived it in a negative way.

The share of Russians who believe their country has reason to fear NATO has surged to 60%, a level of concern unseen by the pollster since 2014. And for the first time since the surveys began, 60% of respondents said that NATO members had reason to fear Russia.

When asked about the possible enlargement of the alliance, Russians pointed to Ukraine as the biggest source of concern. Over 52% said it would create a “serious threat” if its neighbor were to join, while 19% percent believe the threat would be moderate. The figures are smaller for Finland, Georgia, and Sweden, though in all three cases between 55% and 58% considered NATO’s presence in those countries as at least a moderate threat to Russia.

Russians are split over the potential for the Russian attack on Ukraine to spill over into a major confrontation with NATO. Less than half, or 48%, said such a scenario was likely to some degree, while 42% considered it unlikely. For comparison, in March 2016, 64% of Russians didn’t believe their country would go to war against NATO.

The Levada Center is one of the oldest independent pollsters in Russia. It has been listed as a foreign agent since September 2016.