Negative Attitudes Towards UK At Record High In Russia As Tensions Rise

April 11, 2018

Recent research by the Levada Center has revealed that more than half of Russians have a negative attitude towards the United Kingdom.  Just 1% of respondents answered that their attitude is “very positive”, while just 24% responded “positive”.

Another survey conducted back in December 2017 showed that Great Britain is perceived as being among Russia’s top five enemies.  Respondents previously chose America as their main enemy (68%), 14% – Ukraine and 14% – The United Nations, whereas 6% answered Germany, the UK and NATO.

The last survey measuring attitudes of Russians towards the UK was conducted ten years ago.  It can be noted that since that time Russians’ attitudes towards the UK have declined significantly. Back in 2008 more than half (61%) of respondents answered “very positive” and “positive” with only 16% saying they had a “negative” view of the UK.

At the end of March 2018, the Levada Center examined the attitude of Russians towards the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Julia. The majority of Russians (81%) said that they are informed about the case, 9% follow the case closely and 37% claimed to have heard a lot about it. However, around 20% stated that this was the first they’d heard about the poisoning.

From those who had heard about the Skripal poisoning, just 9% believe that UK claims of Russian involvement are grounded in fact, 31% think that claims are unsubstantiated, while 40% believe they are completely fabricated.

The attitudes of Russians towards Britain and the UK government’s version of the Skripal poisoning is linked with the overall distrust of Russians towards the West, notes Denis Volkov, sociologist from the Levada Center. “Up to 70% of respondents believe that all attacks from the West are grounded on their desire to weaken and undermine Russia. All this is related to the conflicts that have arisen as a result of the annexation of Crimea, [war in] Donbass, [the Olympic] doping scandal etc.”

Similar numbers were also revealed from the Russian Public Opinion research center. According to their data, 82% of Russians consider themselves informed about the incident. Of those, 81% don’t trust the claims made by the British government and only 5% believe that the Kremlin was involved in the poisoning. The most common version is an attempted murder by Russia’s enemies (38%), 17% link it to criminals, 9% consider the poisoning a simple accident and only 3% believe in the involvement of Russian Special Security Services.

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