Mar 28, 2010 2:08 pm


Recent Russians opinion polls reveal that the American frantic efforts to appease Russia failed miserably. Not only does Putin do his best to sabotage US foreign policy goals but more and more Russians dislike and dismiss the West in general and Obama's America. So much for reset buttons and"smart" diplomacy.

The ever useful Johnson's Russia List includes this eye opening article from the March 26, issue of Vremya Novostei by Natalia Rozhkova:


Opinion polls conducted by the Levada-Center show that the Russians become increasingly less susceptible to criticism from the West. Instead, most respondents believe that Russia has to defend itself from NATO. Figures compiled over the years and finally published by sociologists indicate that Russians' trust in Western partners is ebbing.

Number of the respondents confident that Russia should heed Western criticism of its foreign and domestic policy dropped from 46% in February 2007 to 42% in February this year. On the contrary, the respondents claiming that this criticism ought to be ignored numbered 38% then and 45% this year. Considering that the respondents who did not know what to say to the question numbered 16% then and 13% earlier this year, it stands to reason to assume that some of them opted to join the"ignore'em" group.

Attitude toward NATO underwent even greater changes. Forty- three percent respondents in January 2003 thought that Russia ought to cooperate with the Alliance in the interests of common security. In February 2010, this group numbered only 26%. The group confident that Russia must concentrate on prevention of NATO's expansion and form alliances of its own increased from 14% to 25%. Faith in neutrality and non-alignment meanwhile increased from 22% to 37%. Number of the respondents assuming that Russia should join NATO has remained unchanged (3-5%).

Neither are the Russians particularly endeared to the United States. The reload presidents Dmitry Medvedev and Barack Obama seems to be frustrating Russian general public to an ever greater degree. In February 2010, 73% Russians called the United States world's number one aggressor and Russia's likeliest potential enemy. (Three years ago, they numbered 75%.) In the meantime, faith in rapprochement with the United States dropped from 24% three years ago to 14% this February. Thirty-six percent actually said that Russia should stay away from the United States.

In other words, most Russians regard the United States as an enemy, a country Russia should remain politely neutral to and stay away from. Mostly pro-American are men aged 25-29 whose mentality was shaped by the years of the perestroika. Noticeably less friendly toward the United States are the Russians aged 55 and more who grew up during the Cold War.

It is fair to add that the West is mostly dismissed by the Russians aged 40-55 (49%), with college or university diplomas (52%), impressive income (50%), and residents of Moscow and other major cities (51% and 52%). Respondents with technical education (47%), the poor (47%), and villagers (48%) are more likely to heed criticism from abroad. These figures show that the social strata where representatives of the Russian middle class might be found are considerably less supportive of Western values than domestic democrats like to pretend. As for the Russians who are wealthy, their respect for the opinion of foreign countries keeps dwindling.

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