Support The Moscow Times!

Share of Russians Predicting Better Ties With the West Hits 5-Year High – Poll

Andrei Lyubimov / Moskva News Agency

The number of Russians forecasting improved relations between their country and the West has reached a five-year high, the independent Levada Center pollster said Monday.

Public support for Russia’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine has remained in the high 80s in the Levada poll since 2014, despite it leading to economic sanctions and strained Russia-West relations. Almost two-thirds of its respondents said the annexation “caused more good” to Russia, versus nearly one-fifth who said it “caused more harm.”

A total of 54 percent of respondents told Levada that Russia’s relations with the West will return to pre-annexation levels, up from 46 percent last year. Meanwhile, 34 percent said they expect the “new Cold War” to continue.

“The peak among those who believe the conflict will be put on the back burner is a hope and not a sober estimate,” Levada director Lev Gudkov told the Vedomosti business daily.

Dmitry Badovsky, the head of the Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Research (ISEPR), observed that “the ‘Crimean Consensus’ remains intact, but the authorities no longer have a ‘Crimean Effect’ on [their] ratings.”

Since 2014, an average of 46.8 percent of respondents said they anticipated improved ties with the West, according to Levada. An average of 35 percent forecast strained relations in the same period.

Levada conducted the survey among 1,600 respondents in 50 Russian regions between March 21 and March 27.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.