Over one-third of Russians expect big changes in country following ‘shift to the East’ – poll

Asia Map

MOSCOW. Dec 14 (Interfax) – Russians believe that Russia and Asian countries are being drawn together primarily through common interests in political (20%) and economical (25%) areas, a public opinion poll conducted by the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) suggests.

However, almost half of the respondents (47%) could not decide what mostly gives a common ground to Russia and Asia right now.

An overwhelming majority of Russians (70%) believe that some more intense cooperation between Russia and Asian countries will change life in our country to some extent (39% believe that the change will be ‘very strong”, 31% “very weak”).

These changes, in their view, will materialize in enhancement of Russia’s trade and economic ties with countries of the East, as well as in emergence of new goods and services on the market (12%), Russia’s economic development and exiting the crisis (8%), lower prices and inflations (4%), higher standards of living (2%), and also in the growth of Russia’s political influence and authority in the world (3%).

Meanwhile, 30% of respondents are of the opinion that the change of the orientation for the East will not affect the life of the Russian society, the October poll suggests. The survey involved 1,600 people residing in 130 communities in 46 Russian regions.

More than half of Russians (59%) are in favor of some continuation or even intensification of such policies: more than one-third (37%) support the current trend of the Russian authorities drifting towards a “new Eastern policy”, while every fifth Russian (22%) tends to think that we should be moving faster in this direction. Still, 23% suggest that we should “slow down and act more cautiously”. Another 5% would absolutely abandon the idea of the “shift towards the East”.

Russians expect that once realized, the “shift” will be primarily beneficial for our country (“Russia” 10%, “authorities” 8%, etc.) and countries of the East, while being absolutely adverse for the West (“Europe” 14%, “America” 8%, etc.). The cooperation between Russia and China are considered as mutually profitable by 60%.

Nevertheless, sociologists note that despite the positive trend towards Asia, there are some negative stereotypes and concerns remaining over certain matters. In particular, Russians fear an increasing flow of low-quality products (64% believe that this can happen within next 5-10 years) and an influx of migrants (61%).