Poll: Russian citizens consider the US, Ukraine and Turkey to be their main opponents

Russian residents believe that the United States, Ukraine and Turkey are the main enemies of the country. These are the results of the last survey by Levada Center, dedicated to the attitude of Russians to other countries.

The USA is the most hostile to Russia, according to 72% of Russians. Ukraine took second place with the highest ever recorded rate of 48% (in 2015 only 37% thought so). The third most unfriendly country is Turkey. In 2015 only 1% of the respondents thought Turkey was unfriendly. This year that figure jumped to 29%.

Russians considered their main friends to be Belarus (50%), Kazakhstan (39%) and China (34%) although a year ago, at least 43% of Russians called China their friend. This year, 10% of respondents considered Syria a friendly country, though in 2015 only 2% thought so. The majority of Russians still treat the U.S. badly (70%), as well as the EU (62%). This year, only 24% of respondents spoke in favor of Russian membership in the EU. In August of 2009, 53% supported it.

The worst relations with the U.S. and EU were at the beginning of 2015. Since then, the situation has stabilized. However, in May of this year relations deteriorated once again, says Alexei Grazhdankin, the Deputy Director of Levada-Center. "Apparently, the celebration of Victory Day and the resentment that the western countries do not reckon with Russia's role in the victory, worsen the relations. There are no other reasons."

The USA is believed to be the main enemy of Russians. Relations with Ukraine have been consistently negative since 2014, although from March of this year they were rated even worse. Grazhdankin explains that "at the same time, more and more Russians see Ukraine as an enemy, as the conflict is still not resolved. Because of this, there are problems with the image of Russia, which also affect the lives of ordinary Russians—the depreciation of the ruble, the inability to travel abroad."

Turkey broke into the list of top three opponents after a Russian bomber was shot down over the Turkish-Syrian border in November. If the conflict is not resolved, sociologists predict attitudes toward it will deteriorate further. Frustration is the hallmark of relations with China as Russians see no benefits to this friendship, says Grazhdankin. "Further results of surveys will depend on the policy the U.S. enacts in relation to Russia. If the relationships become less tense, their negative evaluation will reduce, as was the case with Britain, France and Germany, which are now perceived as enemies less than they were last year,” he stated.

"The attitude to the countries is determined by what is shown on TV, as most Russians have never traveled abroad," says political analyst Dmitry Oreshkin. He explains that answers to questions about price increases or unemployment elicit one level of response; people have some experience with them. In contrast, the answers to questions regarding attitudes towards the United States are made up of what is being said on TV. Oreshkin claims that "to change the judgments, one must either see how things work in reality, which is almost impossible, or the point of view broadcasted by television should be changed."

  Russia, poll, the world