A majority of Russians believe that their country is isolated on the world stage, according to an independent poll published Wednesday.
Russia has made global headlines in recent years for its strained relations with the West over a litany of disagreements, from alleged election meddling and espionage to Moscow’s annexation of Crimea and the eastern Ukraine conflict.
According to the independent Levada Center polling agency, 57% of Russian respondents say their country is isolated internationally compared to 38% who hold the opposite view.
Russians’ positive attitudes toward China (70%) and Belarus (82%) far exceed their positive views of Ukraine (39%) and Georgia (55%), which both have strained relations with their larger neighbor.
Positive views toward the U.S. (39%) and European Union (46%) also lagged far behind those of Russia’s allies.
Yet positive attitudes toward the West and Ukraine are gradually improving following a notable drop in spring 2021, Levada’s latest results said. In March and April, the EU and U.S. issued new sanctions against Russia over the treatment of poisoned and jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny while tensions ratcheted up over Russian military buildup near the Ukrainian border.
Levada also said that 44% of Russians believe that Russia should treat the West as an ally while 29% say it should be treated as a rival, 13% as a friend and 5% as an enemy.
Younger Russians aged 18-24 were most likely to favor treating the West as an ally (50%) or as a friend (21%) compared to Russians aged 55 and older, who were most likely to back treating the West as a rival (33%).