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World Doesn't Like Russia or the U.S., Survey Shows

Russia's image worldwide remains poor compared to other G8 countries, with only the United States ranking even lower in the minds of people in 60 countries, a survey says.

A Gallup International poll, released Monday, indicates that 25 percent of the 50,000 people interviewed dislike Russia, while 31 percent view the country in a positive light. The United States, however, is disliked by 34 percent, while 40 percent have a positive opinion. The survey represents the opinion of 1.16 billion people worldwide, Gallup said.

The poll attempts to gauge the impressions of people around the world toward the G8 leading industrial countries. In addition to Russia and the United States, the countries include Italy, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and Canada.

Of all European Union countries, Austria and Sweden have the most negative image of Russia, at 44 percent and 43 percent, respectively. The Czech Republic comes third at 42 percent, while negative sentiment is also high in France, Germany and Norway. Overall, 32 percent of respondents in Western Europe felt negatively about Russia.

While the United States is unpopular because of the war in Iraq, Russia's image is suffering due to the Kremlin's policy in Chechnya and the perception that it is not open to criticism, said Alexander Muzafarov, a sociologist with Romir, a Gallup partner in Russia. "None of the European countries can substantially affect Russian or U.S. policies, and that builds up a negative attitude toward them," Muzafarov said.

Interestingly, negative sentiment against Russia is also strong in Egypt and Turkey, at 41 percent and 57 percent, respectively. The countries are very popular among Russian tourists.

The good news for Russia is that other former Soviet republics tend to view it positively. Russia gets good marks from 70 percent of Ukrainians, 66 percent of Moldovans and 60 percent of Georgians.

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