How much Russians like USA

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Russians prefer Belarus and China

Russian citizens have an extremely negative attitude to the United States and the European Union, according to the latest poll carried out by the Levada Center. Only 19% of respondents have a positive attitude to America, and 25% - to the European Union. The attitude to Ukraine is neutral: only 55% of those surveyed don`t like the country, 31% give a positive assessment. Russians` best friends are Belarusians and Chinese.

Russians still have an extremely negative attitude towards the USA and the EU, according to the results of the latest poll carried out by the Levada Center on March 20-23 this year. The attitude of our citizens to the USA and the EU has consistently deteriorated since September 2013, and reached its peak in January 2015, when answering the question "What's your attitude towards the United States?", 39% of respondents said "very bad", and 42% - "mostly "bad."

In recent months, the attitude has improved, yet insignificantly: now, Russians do not like Americans and Europeans as much as in September - November 2014.

19% of respondents have a positive attitude to America, 73% - a negative one. Europe is positively evaluated by 25%, negatively – by 64%.

But we can`t be confident that the trend is steady, explains the deputy director of the Levada Center Aleksey Grazhdankin: "The indexes change insignificantly within the limits, which established last summer."

At the beginning of the 90s, the trend was reverse: 80% of Russians had a positive attitude towards the United States. There are four turning points, which caused drastic changes in the opinion of Russians: the first one is the war in Yugoslavia in 1998, then the campaign in Iraq in 2003, the conflict in South Ossetia in 2008 and, finally, the Ukrainian crisis.

Attitude to Europe is more neutral: there was only one sharp decrease in the same 2008 before the Ukrainian conflict.

People with higher education, the youth and the citizens in large cities show a better attitude to the Western countries, but the differences are small, says Grazhdankin. He adds that the deteriorated attitude to the USA and the EU has made Russians less willing to go to the West to live or work. "As, according to the average Russian, they don`t welcome us there, then we will be less willing to go there," says Grazhdankin.

The political analyst Yevgeny Minchenko believes that the attitude of Russians to the USA and the EU in the future depends on whether sanctions are lifted or not. If sanctions are strengthened, the degree of "anti-Americanism" in society will preserve, the analyst believes. "Because sanctions are perceived not as the pressure on Putin and his close associates, but as restrictions concerning all the Russians," says the expert.

According to the survey, from November 2005 to November 2012, the majority had a negative attitude towards Georgia, but then the situation changed. Today, 48% of Russian citizens have a positive attitude to this country, 33% of them have the negative one.

Since the end of the 90s, most of the Russians have had a positive attitude to Ukraine. The period of "gas wars" from 2008 to 2010 was an exception. "The attitude was deteriorating with the media accusing Ukraine of stealing gas in the news," says Grazhdankin. Russians have felt good about Belarus most of the time: 85% of respondents like the country. Public mood may sometimes change, which, according to Grazhdankin, usually depends on trade relations and demarches by President Alexander Lukashenko.

Since 2014, the Russians` opinion on China has greatly improved. 76 % are positive about this country, and only 14% are negative. Russians citizens reoriented to China last year. Although, according to Grazhdankin, the attitude has been generally positive since the beginning of the 2000s. According to Minchenko, this is due to the turn towards Asia and strengthening of economic cooperation, officially declared by the Russian authorities. "Yes, and there are no grounds for the hypotheses that the Chinese will take the Far East and Siberia over," adds the analyst.

Earlier, the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) made a rating of Russia`s main "friends" and "enemies", according to which Russians consider the People's Republic of China their greatest friend in the international arena. Then go Belarus and Kazakhstan. The top-3 of Russia`s "enemies" are made up of America, Ukraine and Germany. "This is the result of the propaganda, said the Chairman of the National Strategy Council Valery Khomyakov to "Gazeta.ru". This is a direct outcome of the propaganda. And as there is more propaganda and it has become more high-pressure, the opinions have became more contradictory as well."

"It should be remembered that the attitude towards this or that country usually reflects the attitude to the policy of the authorities of the country, not to the people," concludes Alexey Grazhdankin.

Text and pictures by GAZETA.RU