Russians love their Chinese neighbours, Gallup poll shows

The 2,000 Russians surveyed gave China a 42pc approval rating and put the EU and the United States near rock bottom

PUBLISHED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 4:25pm
UPDATED : Friday, 18 July, 2014, 4:29pm

China’s popularity in Russia has reached an all-time high, as opinions of the EU and the US have sunk near the bottom, according to a survey released this week.

Although the Gallup poll’s findings were published today, they were based on face-to-face interviews conducted between April 22 and June 9 with 2,000 Russians aged 15 and older, Gallup said.

Russians’ approval of the leadership of the US and the EU sank to single digits, reflecting widespread displeasure with the position Western powers have taken on Russia’s annexation of Crimea and ongoing involvement in Ukraine. On Wednesday, the US broadened sanctions against Russian banks and energy companies, and EU leaders are believed to be considering further sanctions.

However, Russia could improve its economic standing by Wednesday’s establishment of a US$50 billion development bank with its BRICS partners – Brazil, India, China and South Africa.

As their country’s relations with Europe and the US have frayed, Russians’ approval of China has soared, reaching a record 42 per cent. In May, Russia and China approved a US$400 billion natural gas deal, and the signing was attended by President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.

Putin’s own approval rating also rose in the poll, with 83 per cent of respondents saying they approved of the way he was handling his job as president, up from 54 per cent last year. For the first time since 2008, a majority of Russians (78 per cent) said they believe their leadership was taking them in the right direction. However, despite high levels of confidence in both the military and the national government, only 39 per cent of respondents said they had faith in the honesty of elections.

The margin of error of the poll, Gallup said, is plus or minus 2.7 per cent.