Russians increasingly view the United States in a positive light following a presidential summit last month, according to a survey published by the independent Levada pollster on Thursday.
Some 83 percent of respondents told Levada that they closely followed or heard about President Vladimir Putin’s first sit-down meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 16. The summit was largely seen as a success by Russian politicians and in state-run television coverage.
For the first time since 2014, the number of Russians who said they had “positive” feelings towards the United States (42 percent) outweighed those who reported “negative” feelings (40 percent).
“The population is tired of the policy of confrontation with the West, which has been going on for several years and has resulted in the decline of people’s incomes,” Levada said.
Citing a drop in the government's approval rating according to another survey in July, the pollster noted that a “sense of mass resentment” has grown from “the idea that the country’s leadership seeks to achieve its geopolitical goals at the expense of the population.”
Wartime spending and other defense expenditures become less justified, Levada argues, “while threats from the West are quickly beginning to be re-evaluated.”
Levada conducted the survey between July 19 and July 25 among 1,600 participants in 52 Russian regions.