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Share of Russians with positive attitude to United States down from 78% to 14% in 20 years

January 28, 2015, 14:24 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The majority of Russian citizens believe that the main threats to the country come from abroad, a poll conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences shows
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© ITAR-TASS/Yuri Smityuk

MOSCOW, January 28. /TASS/. Over the past 20 years the share of Russian citizens who have a positive attitude towards the United States has declined from 87 to 14%, a poll conducted by the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) suggests.

Sociologists compared today’s research data with the results of a public opinion poll conducted in 1995.

According to the research, presented to TASS on Wednesday, over this period the attitude of Russians towards countries of the West has generally considerably worsened, although Russian citizens’ attitude towards Western Europe is better than towards America. Thus, the share of people who are fond of the UK has declined from 77 to 46% over the past 20 years, Germany — from 69 to 44% and France — from 79 to 57%. At the same time, the citizens’ attitude to China has considerably improved — from 41 to 64%.

"The majority of Russian citizens (61%) believe that the main threats to the country come from abroad, and only 18% believe that the main sources of possible negative scenarios for Russia should be looked for inside the country," the research says.

The general conclusion the study authors make on the poll results is that "the modern Russian society has basically got rid of the posttraumatic syndrome caused by the collapse of the Soviet Union," but the majority of citizens still do not support the creation of a new empire.

Some 80% of the polled agree with the thesis "Russia’s policy course brings positive results." As many as 67% of respondents agree that Russia should be a great power and 75% of those polled said Russia is a special civilization. Also, 58% of the polled believe that "Russia needs a firm hand."

Most of the respondents — 52%, believe that the country’s goal "to be one of the most developed world countries" is right, while 26% wanted to "return the superpower status" to the country and only 9% said Russia "should seek leadership in the post-Soviet space." Sociologists compared these figures with the figures of a similar poll conducted in 2007: then 45% of the polled supported the country’s aim to become one of the most developed states, 35% were for Russia as a superpower and only 6% — for the post-Soviet leadership.

As of today, Russia is regarded as a great power by 33% of the polled, and as a leading country of the world — by 27% of respondents. Another 21% of the poll participants do not consider Russia an influential country.

The poll was conducted in November 2014 by a team of experts led by the RAS Institute of Sociology Director Mikhail Gorshkov. The poll covered 4,000 full-aged citizens, representing all Russia’s economic regions, types of settlements and demographic groups.

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