Russians believe Belarus, China, Kazakhstan are the friendliest to them

Eurasia Map

(Interfax – April 9, 2016)

As many as 68% of Russian respondents interviewed by the Public Opinion Foundation and asked to name three countries they believe are the closest and the friendliest ones to Russia mentioned Belarus, 56% China and 50% Kazakhstan.

These very three countries have remained on top of the list since April 2014.

The April poll of 1,500 respondents in 104 populated areas in 53 regions showed also that 26% list India among such countries, 15% Cuba, 10% Brazil, 9% Venezuela, 8% Japan and Germany each, 7% Iran and Israel each, 6% France, and 4% Italy.

Only 1% of those polled identified Turkey, Ukraine, and the United States each as countries that have friendly relations with Russia. Notably enough, Turkey was perceived as such by as many as 20% just a year ago.

Consequently, 71% of the respondents mentioned Ukraine, 69% the U.S., and 63% Turkey as the most unfriendly countries to Russia in the latest poll. In April 2015, only 3% described Russia’s relationship with Turkey as bad.

Asked cooperation with what countries is the most important for the Russian economy at the present time, 49% named China, 35% Belarus, 23% Kazakhstan, 22% Germany, 16% India, 14% Japan, 12% the U.S., 9% France, and 5% Ukraine, Italy, and Brazil each.
While 18% named Turkey in this context only a year ago, the number of those who still believe so has dropped to 4%, and 22% were undecided.

Asked what partners are the most valuable to Russia, 32% named China, 16% Belarus, and 8% the U.S.

Asked to explain why they believe China is the most suitable partner, 12% said this is “a rapidly growing country with a strong economy and great prospects for cooperation” and 8% said “we have close economic ties and a large trade turnover.” As for Belarus, the main argument mentioned was that “we are Slavs, they are a brotherly nation, close to us in spirit, and we have a lot in common.” Fewer than 5% of those polled said in explaining the importance of partnership with the U.S. that this is “an influential country, the world leader, and a superpower.”

Asked with residents of which countries it is easiest for Russians to enjoy mutual understanding and find a common language, 71% named Belarus, 41% Kazakhstan, 21% China, 18% Ukraine, 8% India, and 7% Germany.

When asked what countries they would prefer to visit, 34% each named France and Italy. It is noteworthy that the number of those mentioning France in this context has grown significantly from 27% in 2015.

As many as 26% of those polled would also like to visit Germany, 24% India, 23% Japan, 22% China, 18% Brazil, 16% Israel, 15% Cuba, 14% Belarus, 13% the United Kingdom, and 12% the U.S.

Only 2% would like to visit Ukraine and 5% Kazakhstan.

The number of those wishing to travel to Turkey has dropped to 7% from 15% in 2014-2015.