Russians Don’t Want Closer Ties with U.S.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Few people in Russia want their country to seek improved relations with the United States, according to a poll by the Yury Levada Analytical Center. Only 14 per cent of respondents advocate for closer bi-lateral ties, down 10 points since March 2003.

Conversely, 40 per cent of Russians think their country should maintain the same level of relations with the U.S. that it currently has, and 36 per cent would prefer to see Russia distance itself from that country.

Russian voters renewed the State Duma in December 2007. United Russia (YR)—whose candidate list was headed by then president Vladimir Putin—secured 64.1 per cent of the vote and 315 of the legislature’s 450 seats. On that same month, Putin endorsed Dmitry Medvedev as a presidential candidate, and Medvedev said it would be of the “utmost importance” to have Putin as prime minister.

In March 2008, Medvedev easily won Russia’s presidential election with 70.28 per cent of the vote. In May, Medvedev was sworn in as president. His nomination of Putin as prime minister was confirmed by the State Duma in a 392-56 vote.

On Mar. 26, U.S. president Barack Obama and Medvedev sealed a commitment to reduce their nuclear arsenals by a third and halve the number of missiles and bombers.

Obama said the parties will sign the so-called START nuclear arms reduction treaty on Apr. 8, stating, “Since taking office, one of my highest national security priorities has been addressing the threat posed to the American people by nuclear weapons. (…) With this agreement, the United States and Russia—the two largest nuclear powers in the world—also send a clear signal that we intend to lead. By upholding our own commitments under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty, we strengthen our global efforts to stop the spread of these weapons, and to ensure that other nations meet their own responsibilities.”

Polling Data

Thinking about foreign policy, what should Russia do in the next few years with regards to the United States?

Feb. 2010 Mar. 2003
Build closer ties 14% 24%
Keep things as they are 40% 29%
Seek a greater distance 36% 38%
Hard to answer 11% 10%