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Almost half of Russians don't believe in external threat — opinion poll

The share of people who believe that an external threat exists has grown by 14% since 1990

MOSCOW, October 16. /TASS-DEFENSE/. About a third of Russians consider Russia’s army as the world’s most combat-ready, according to the results of a poll published by the all-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) on Friday.

Almost half the respondents are confident the Russian army’s fighting force ranks among the best in the world, the poll suggested.

"The assessment of effectiveness of Russia’s armed forces has dramatically changed since the Perestroika [restructuring in the Soviet Union launched by last Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev]," the report said.

"In 1990, 34% of the respondents said the Soviet army was trailing behind the world’s top forces and 15% assessed its fighting capabilities at a very low level. These views are attributed to just 12% and three percent in the latest poll," the pollster said.

"Today, as many as 32% of Russians say Russia’s army is the world’s most effective and combat-ready while 49% of the respondents believe that its fighting force ranks among the finest compared with just 21% in 1990," the pollster said.

Twenty-five years ago, half of survey respondents said money spent on the armed forces was excessive while only just over 35% reckon this true today. The opposite view is held by 52% of voters today compared with 19% in 1990.

"The threat of a military attack in September 2015 - 48% think it exists - is perceived as less real than January's 68% but much more significant than the 13% in 1990. Today, 43% of respondents say they don’t believe in an external threat compared with 57% in 1990," the survey website report said.

"The United States was named as a potential aggressor - 53% against 19% in 1990 - while Germany, considered the main enemy 25 years ago by 23%, has not been named as an aggressor by any respondent," the analysis added.