Sunday, January 21, 2018

Only One Russian in 16 Says Moscow’s Growing Role in the World is Putin’s Doing

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 21 – One of the basic premises of most analyses of Russian political life is that Russians are inclined to give Vladimir Putin credit for everything that goes right even if they do not regularly hold him responsible for things that don’t.  But a new poll suggests Russians now make finer distinctions than that.

            A new Public Opinion Foundation survey finds that while 71 percent of Russians questioned believe that the influence of Russia in the world had risen in recent years (four percent say it has fallen and 14 percent unchanged), only six percent ascribe that increase to the work of Vladimir Putin (

            Instead, Russians say, this increase is the result of the country’s military strength (17 percent), a foreign policy based on promoting peace and stability (eight percent) and its assistance to Syria and the struggle against international terrorism (six percent).

            Further, half of the sample – 50 percent – call the world’s attitude toward Russia as poor, with 35 percent saying that it has gotten worse in recent years, while 32 percent say it has gotten better. They suggest that many countries do not correctly understand Russia, and six percent say these states should improve their ties with Russia because of the authority and activity of Putin.

            Other findings from this poll: 47 percent say the rest of the world has a distorted view of Russia, while 37 percent disagree; 60 percent believe that the rest of the world views Russia as rich country, while 26 percent say it views Russia as a poor one; and 58 percent say the world views Russia as a free country while 28 percent say it thinks Russia is unfree.

            Three out of four Russians (74 percent) say that the rest of the world respects Russia while 16 percent say that it doesn’t. Eighty-four percent say the world fears Russia but nine percent says it doesn’t. As for the fear others have of Russia, 74 percent say this is a good thing while 13 percent say it is a bad one.

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