Russians less favorable to U.S., EU, Ukraine, Belarus, more to Georgia – poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 9, 2013)

A recent poll has shown that Russian citizens had less favorable opinions towards the United States and European Union as well as to Ukraine and Belarus.

Currently, 48% of Russians give generally positive comments about the United States, against 53% in January. Thus, the share of those opposed to the United States grew from 34% to 39%, sociologists of the Levada Center told Interfax about the results of the poll held in late March in 130 settlements in 45 Russian regions.

Sociologists said that 58% out of 1,600 respondents said they had a generally positive attitude towards the European Union and 25% a negative one, the ratio was 64% and 22% in January.

Polls of the Levada Center show that the positive attitude of Russians towards China and Japan decreased in the past years. The number of positive comments about Japan was 67% in March 2013 and 78% in 2009. The share of Russians generally favoring China was 76% in 2009 and 62% in March 2013.

The share of those favorable towards Ukraine and Belarus declined as well. Currently, 69% of respondents have a positive attitude towards Ukraine and 82% towards Belarus, while in early 2013 the share was 74% and 84%, respectively.

Sociologists say that a positive attitude towards Georgia is growing gradually. Only 32% Russians said they had positive attitude in favor of Georgia in January 2010, 39% in early 2011, 43% in summer 2012 and 46% in March 2013. Thus, the share of those feeling negative towards Georgia decreased from 55% to 42%, sociologists told Interfax.

Georgian Dream collation headed by billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili won the 2012 parliamentary elections in Georgia. Ivanishvili said later that Georgia was starting its relations with Russia from scratch and dropping the aggressive rhetoric.

On September 2, 2008, Georgia said that it broke diplomatic relations with Russia after the military conflict in South Ossetia. The two countries closed their embassies. The Swiss embassy is currently representing interests of the two countries in Moscow and Tbilisi.