Numbers, Facts and Trends Shaping Your World

Russia, Putin Held in Low Regard around the World

Russia’s Image Trails U.S. across All Regions

Opinion of Russia Largely Unfavorable

These are among the main findings of a Pew Research Center survey, conducted in 40 nations among 45,435 respondents from March 25 to May 27, 2015.

Russia’s greatest support is in Vietnam (75%). But in only two other nations do about half or more of the public have a positive view of Russia: Ghana (56%) and China (51%).

In a number of countries, large segments of the public express no opinion about Russia. This includes more than half of those surveyed in Ethiopia and about a third or more in Pakistan, India, Burkina Faso, Tanzania, Senegal, Argentina and Peru.

Within the context of generally anti-Russian sentiment, views of Russia can differ between generations. Americans ages 50 and older are far more critical of Moscow (78% unfavorable) than Americans ages 18 to 29 (56%). The generation gap is similar in Canada: 69% negative among older Canadians compared with only 47% unfavorable among younger ones. There are 19-percentage-point differences in unfavorable views between these age groups in Spain (72% vs. 53%) and Australia (70% vs. 51%).

Russia Viewed Less Favorably than the U.S. in All Parts of the World

There is a notable partisan difference in views of Russia in France: While both major parties there have a negative view, more Socialists (78%) than supporters of the right-of-center Union for a Popular Movement (UMP) (67%) see Russia unfavorably.

Russian and American Opinions of Each Other Have Worsened
German, Russian Views of Each Other Soured Even Before Ukraine Fighting

In recent years, Americans’ views of Russia have deteriorated. As recently as 2011, about half of Americans (49%) voiced a favorable opinion of Russia, but in 2015, just 22% express such sentiments. Russian views of the U.S. have fallen off even faster and further. In 2013, 51% of Russians had a positive assessment of the U.S.; in 2015, only 15% do.

Chinese and Russian Views of Each Other Diverge

There has been a similar decline in Germans’ views of Russia, beginning before the 2014 fighting in eastern Ukraine. In 2010, half of Germans saw Russia favorably. By 2015, only 27% hold such views, although that figure is up from 19% in 2014, despite continuing tensions over Ukraine. Russians’ opinion of Germany has deteriorated even more. In 2011, 78% of Russians saw Germany in a positive light. In 2015, less than half that proportion (35%) voiced such sentiment.

Putin’s Image Even Worse than That of Russia

Little Confidence in Putin

Opinions are more varied in Asia, Africa and Latin America, however. In the Asia-Pacific region, about eight-in-ten Australians (81%) hold a negative view of Putin, while seven-in-ten Vietnamese have a positive opinion. Seven-in-ten Venezuelans, but only about half of Peruvians (52%), voice a lack of confidence in Putin. And 45% of Kenyans have negative sentiments about the Russian leader, compared with only 16% of Ethiopians.

But views in Asia and Africa are in part a product of the fact that many people in those regions have no opinion of Putin: 56% in Pakistan, 52% in Ethiopia, 49% in India, 43% in Senegal and 42% in Indonesia say they don’t know how they feel about him.

In most parts of the world, views of Putin and views of Russia track closely. This is especially true in Africa, Asia and most of Latin America. There are, however, notable exceptions where Russian favorability exceeds confidence in Putin. In Spain, 25% have a favorable view of Russia while only 6% have a positive opinion about Putin. Similarly, in France, Venezuela, Peru and Ukraine, roughly twice as many see Russia in a positive light as have confidence in Putin.

Publics in All Regions Have More Confidence in Obama than in Putin
American Confidence in Putin Quite Low

In the U.S., roughly one-in-five Americans (21%) have confidence in Putin’s handling of world affairs. This is about half the proportion who trusted him in 2003 (41%). Older Americans are particularly distrustful of Putin.

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