Survey: Russian Attitudes Toward US Worsened in 2012

Posted October 18th, 2012 at 1:10 pm (UTC-5)
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A new survey of Russian public opinion shows the attitude of Russians toward the United States has worsened in the past year.

The poll taken by the Levada Center, a non-governmental Russian research organization, shows the percentage of respondents with a positive view of the United States dropped to 46 percent, from 67 percent last year. The proportion of negative views rose to 38 percent from 27 percent over the same period.

About two-thirds of Russian respondents said the United States tends to put pressure on Russia rather than treat their nation with respect. A similar proportion believes Washington is “hypocritical” in pressuring countries to obey international laws while not always adhering to such laws itself.

The research group said it conducted the survey in 130 towns and cities in 45 Russian regions last month.

U.S. President Barack Obama has tried to “reset” relations with Russia in recent years. But the two world powers have had frequent disagreements about how to deal with the Syrian civil war and Iran's controversial nuclear program.

The Levada survey obtained by Russia's Interfax news agency found that Russian attitudes toward the European Union deteriorated only slightly in the past year, with the proportion of positive views slipping to 63 percent from 67 percent.

The survey also shows Russians have mixed views about how Moscow should react to the worsening confrontation between the United States and Iran. Washington accuses Tehran of covertly trying to develop nuclear weapons and refuses to rule out military action to prevent Iranian leaders from obtaining an atomic bomb. Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful.

The Russian poll shows that 32 percent of respondents think Russia should mediate a peaceful resolution to the dispute, while 27 percent want to stay out of any U.S.-Iranian military confrontation and 19 percent favor maneuvering to promote Russian national interests. The survey says the options of Russia siding with either the United States or Iran only drew single-digit support from respondents.