Since the later part of 2016, an evolving and growing anti-Russia sentiment has taken over the narrative in the United States with many in America (and much of the West for that matter) getting a sense that a dictatorship has overtaken the nascent democratic changes in the former Soviet Union that first appeared with Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika (restructuring) and glasnost (openness). What those of us who live in the West rarely hear discussed is how Russian society views the United States. A recent survey by The Chicago Council on Global Affairs in affiliation with the Levada Analytical Center in Moscow looks at several key issues, comparing the current state of Russians’ opinion on the United States to the current state of Americans’ opinion on Russia and how these opinions have morphed over the past year.
Let’s start with this question:
“Do you think that US-Russian relations will change/have changed after the election of President Donald Trump and, if so, in what way?”
The question was asked in both January 2017 and December 2017
Improve significantly/somewhat – 46 percent
Haven’t changed – 29 percent
Worsen somewhat/significantly – 10 percent
Here are the results from December 2017 after Donald Trump had been in office for nearly a year:
Improve significantly/somewhat – 14 percent
Haven’t changed – 51 percent
Worsen somewhat/significantly – 28 percent
It is quite apparently that the optimism shown by Russians at the beginning of the Trump White House have been dashed with a nearly tripling of the percentage of Russians who feel that relations between the two nations have worsened somewhat or worsened significantly.
Here is a graphic showing the percentage of Russians that have a favourable viewpoint of the United States and how it has changed over the past three decades:
With the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, let’s look at how Russians feel about America’s influence on Russia’s domestic affairs and international power as shown in this question:
“To what extent do you think that the United States tries to influence domestic affairs in Russia?”
A great deal – 36 percent
A fair amount – 43 percent
When Americans are asked the same question, here is their response:
A great deal – 13 percent
A fair amount – 42 percent
In contrast, only 31 percent of Russians believe that their own nation tries to influence domestic affairs in the United States. This compares to 69 percent of Americans who believe that Russia tries to influence the domestic affairs of the United States with 74 percent believing that Russia is actively working to undermine American influence and power.
When asked if the United States is trying to influence Russia’s domestic affairs, 78 percent of Russians agree and when asked if the United States is trying to undermine Russia’s international influence and power, 81 percent of Russians agree.
Lastly, with the evolution of the unipolar global power structure, let’s look at how Russians and Americans look at Russia’s role in the world:
This fascinating analysis gives us an interesting snapshot of the Russian viewpoint of the United States. It is apparent that any hope of improving relations between the two nations after the election of what appeared to be a relatively pro-Putin Donald Trump have evaporated, thanks, in large part, to the anti-Russia narrative proposed by Washington and propagated by the mainstream media.
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