July 01, 2015

What a Difference a Decade Makes

Just a little under a decade ago, in 2006, the US and Russia were staunch allies in the global war on terror, George Bush had looked into Vladimir Putin’s soul and found it good, and 73 percent of Americans viewed Russia as friendly or an ally. This was a marked change from early 2000, when US public opinion was virtually tied over whether Russia was friend or foe (after the more or less friendly 1990s).

But over the last eight years, with the US and Russia clashing over the ABM Treaty, Edward Snowden, human rights, Crimea, and Ukraine, US opinions about Russia have fundamentally changed. This past February, 68 percent of Americans viewed Russia as unfriendly or an enemy.

Not surprisingly, the situation is much the same in Russia, only more so. A recent Levada Center poll found that 81 percent of Russians have a negative view of America, the highest negative – by far – since Levada began conducting this poll in 1990.

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