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Trump’s Popularity in Russia Takes Sharp Hit After U.S. Sanctions

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Russians’ love affair with U.S. President Donald Trump has nosedived in the wake of new sanctions signed into law by the president this week, according to a new poll.

Twenty-eight percent of respondents questioned by the state-funded VTsIOM pollster said they felt negatively about the U.S. president, compared to 18 percent who expressed sympathy, the results published Friday show.

In a similar poll conducted only a month earlier, the figure of those who had a positive attitude was 27 percent.

Forty-three percent of respondents were indifferent towards the president.

The results show a sharp drop in Trump’s popularity since the U.S. Houses of Congress approved new legislation that will make it harder for Trump to ease sanctions on Russia imposed over its role in the Ukraine crisis and alleged meddling in the U.S. presidential election. Trump earlier this week signed the package into law, while criticizing it as “flawed.” 

In Moscow, the move was widely taken as proof of the president’s weakness in face of an anti-Russian political establishment.

The poll was conducted on July 30-31, several days after Moscow announced it would force the U.S. Mission to Russia to reduce its diplomatic staff, and barred access to two U.S. diplomatic properties.

When asked whether they thought Russia should take retaliatory measures by introducing its own sanctions, however, 19 percent of respondents in the poll approved, but 29 percent thought the authorities should “not react.” Only four percent said they believed in a “tough response.”

Overall, those polled seemed to be unconcerned by the impact of the sanctions. Thirty-five percent of respondents said they thought sanctions had a positive effect on Russia, and more than one quarter, 29 percent, said they did not think sanctions significantly impacted the country.

The poll was conducted among 1200 people. The margin of error did not exceed 3.5 percent.

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