Anti-Western sentiments in Russia at record levels: Poll
Anti-Western sentiments in Russia have reached their highest levels in 25 years with an overwhelming majority of people harboring a negative attitude toward the United States and the European Union, a poll shows.
Relations between Russia and the US appear to have come undone after the beginning of the Ukrainian standoff more than one year ago, independent pollster the Levada Center said on Monday.
According to the poll, 81 percent of respondents hold negative attitudes toward the United States. The figure is nearly twice the rate in January last year, which stood at 44 percent.
The number of Russian people who described the Moscow-Washington ties as hostile also increased tenfold, standing at 42 percent last month from four percent in January 2014.
According to the poll, 71 percent of Russians currently have a negative opinion of the European Union, showing that the country’s traditionally good relations with the 28-nation bloc have also taken a beating.
It noted that 24 percent of the respondents called the Russia-EU relations hostile, up from one percent in January 2014.
The survey shows that 40 percent of the respondents believe that Russia should strengthen ties with the West, while 36 percent said it is best that Moscow keep its distance from both the US and the EU.
The poll reflects the widespread sentiment among Russians, who blame the US for sparking the crisis in Ukraine. Many Russians also resent the West for the sanctions that have hit their national economy hard.
The Western powers have been accusing Moscow of playing a role in the deadly crisis in eastern Ukraine, which erupted when Kiev launched military operations in April last year to silence pro-Russia protests. The Kremlin denies the accusation.
Russia has, in return, imposed a full year-long ban of European Union, US, Australian, Canadian, and Norwegian food exports to the country.
Amid fear on the part of some EU members about their trade ties with Moscow, the bloc has agreed to postpone new sanctions against Russia to give time to see if a four-way Ukraine peace summit on February 11 makes progress.