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Russians' Regard for the West Has Plummeted, Poll Shows

The number of those who view the U.S. negatively skyrocketed from 44 percent in January to 74 percent in July. Freedom House / Flickr

Anti-Western sentiments in Russia have hit a fever pitch amid the ongoing conflict in neighboring Ukraine, a survey conducted by independent pollster the Levada Center revealed Wednesday.

A mere 18 percent of respondents harbor favorable attitudes toward the U.S., a significant decrease from January's 43 percent. The number of those who view the U.S. negatively, on the other hand, skyrocketed from 44 percent in January to 74 percent in July.

The poll, which was conducted between July 18 and 21, revealed a steady decline in pro-Western sentiment following?  the ouster of Kremlin-backed Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in February, with sentiments toward the U.S. hitting rock bottom in July, after the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 sparked the biggest row yet between Russia and the West.

An earlier poll by the Levada Center, published in late July, revealed that the majority of Russians blamed the West for having caused the Ukraine crisis, a factor which undoubtedly played a role in the deteriorating attitude reflected in the latest poll.

While the biggest deterioration was seen in Russians' attitudes toward the U.S., perceptions of the European Union and Ukraine have also taken hits in recent months.

In January, 34 percent of respondents had expressed a negative attitude toward the European Union, a figure that had ballooned to 60 percent by July, the latest poll showed.

The number of those who felt positively about Ukraine also fell, from 66 percent in January to 33 percent last month. Fifty-five percent currently harbor negative views toward a nation with whom Russia once shared what President Vladimir Putin has described as "brotherly" relations, while just a few months ago that number stood at 26 percent.

Seventy-nine percent characterized current Ukraine-Russia relations as hostile and tense.

Sixty-four percent said all responsibility for the worsening relations between the two countries rests with the new authorities in Kiev, while a mere 8 percent said that both Russia and Ukraine were to blame. One percent blamed Russia alone.

The survey, conducted among 1,600 adults in 134 cities across 46 regions, had a margin of error of 3.4 percent.

See also:

Most Russians Think Western Powers Caused Ukraine Crisis

Contact the author at a.quinn@imedia.ru


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