Russians' fear of the West is the lowest in years, survey reports

On 10 January, the Levada Center published a survey showing that Russians consider the US (68 %), Ukraine (29 %), and the EU (14 %) as the country's biggest enemies. While the percentage of people thinking Russia is surrounded by adversaries is striking (66 %), it is the lowest since 2012.

According to Levada Center’s Denis Volkov, the high perception of threats is the result of the information sphere dominated by state-owned companies or private firms linked to the government. Russia’s widespread hostility towards the West skyrocketed as a reaction to the Ukrainian conflict when the overwhelmingly negative media coverage legitimised the state’s aggressive stances. Despite its economic downturn, Russia's modernisation of the army and the navy is ongoing. The presidential election to be held in March 2018 is not expected to bring change to Russia’s policy towards the EU nor the leadership, with opposition leader Alexei Navalny unable to run. In this tense context, the last European Council meeting renewed sanctions and advanced the EU's defence integration.

About author: Giada Negri

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