Russians' attitude to US and EU is getting warmer
According to the latest survey by Levada Center, the negative peak of Russians' attitude to the US and the EU has passed, and now Russian's assessments of their Western partners have moved from negative to neutral. The survey was conducted among 1600 people in 134 population centers in 46 regions of the country.
So in March, 81% of respondents spoke about their negative attitude toward the US, but in July there were only 70% such respondents. In July 62% of Russians spoke about their negative attitude towards Brussels, in January this figure was 71%.
The assessment of Ukraine is still negative (63% in July, 64% in January). 45% of the respondents participating in the survey has a positive attitude to Georgia (35% negative).
China and Belarus are the leaders in positive assessments. 75% of respondents are positive about China, and 84% about Belarus.
For the first time in three years Russians were asked about their attitude towards Iran: the Islamic Republic is positively evaluated by 43% (against 42% in 2012), negatively by 25% (against 29% in 2012).
A senior research officer of the Center for European Studies at the Moscow State University of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Olenchenko, told Vestnik Kavkaza that this is a manifestation of the national character. "We don't hold a grudge against anyone. On the other hand, we have always sought dialogue and a search for peaceful solutions," he said.
According to him, the whole attitude of Russians to the West is as much negative as before. "In my opinion, most of our people want our state to be sovereign and independent and pursue an independent policy," Vladimir Olenchenko said.
The head of the Center for Strategic Development of the CIS Countries under the RAS Institute of Europe, Alexander Gusev, in his turn, spoke about several reasons for the improvement of Russians' attitude toward the West. "The main reason is, I think, the successful completion of negotiations on the Iranian nuclear program, and then the freezing of the conflict and the absence of large-scale military operations in Ukraine, as well as the visit of US Secretary of State John Kerry to Sochi," he said.
"At the same time, the relations between Russia and the US and the EU are still quite complex, there are still anti-Russian sanctions, so there is nothing surprising," Alexander Gusev noted.
"We are acting, in spite of sanctions and pressure on our country, in the framework of partnerships and don't seek confrontation with the West – this also relates to the evaluation of the opinions and attitudes of Russians," the expert believes.