Saturday, August 14, 2021

Russia’s Influence Based on Military Power, Putin’s Authority, Cultural Heritage, and Scientific Achievements, VTsIOM Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, August 8 – Russians tell the VTsIOM polling agency that “the influence of Russia on the international arena is based on military power (67 percent), the personal authority of Vladimir Putin (47 percent), success in sports (31 percent), cultural heritage (30 Percent) and scientific achievements (23 percent).

            They divide nearly equally, the sociologists report today, between the 42 percent who think that the outside world views Russia in a positive light and the 39 percent who have or at least express the opposite opinion (

            A quarter of all Russians say that the authority of their country with others is based more on fear than anything else, while 23 percent say it is based more on respect. Thirty-one percent say it is based equally on the two. But 14 percent suggest that Russia is neither feared nor respected by others.

            Over the last three years, VTsIOM reports, the pattern found this time around has remained more or less constant, although the share of Russians saying the standing of their country is based on fear or respect has fallen slightly while that declaring that Russian generates neither fear or respect has risen by the same amount.

            The pollsters also asked what Russians believe foreigners associate Russia with. Eleven percent said it was with alcohol, 10 percent with Putin, six percent with cold, and four  percent with hospitality.

            Asked about this, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said “Thank God, that we have such symbols” as the bear, the balalaika, and vodka. Those are signs of happiness and a good attitude toward live and also, in the case of bears, of a positive attitude toward the environment ( and

            It is much better, the diplomat said that our national symbols elicit smiles “and are not associated” with tragedies as is the case with the United States, where among its symbols are the indigenous Indian population. “Their fate,” Lavrov said, “is incomparably worse than the fate of Russian bears. They live on reservations while bears with us stride about the entire country.”

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