The European Union mirrored through the Russian Public opinion.
The relations between
After escalation of the political crisis in
The absolute majority of Russian citizens (89% in April-May 2014) supported steps undertaken by the government and the President in connection with the Ukrainian crisis. This spring V.Putin’s foreign policy has been supported by 88% of respondents, interviewed by Bashkirova and Partners. Policies run by head of state in the sphere of national security were supported by 85% of the Russian society, and the official stand in the Ukrainian conflict - by 82% (for reference, economy policies pursued by V.Putin at the same time was supported by 68% of Russians interviewed, while his policies in the field of education and public health – by less than half). The European Union’s stance (associated above all with the stance of
National television is still said to be the main source of information, Russians use to learn about developments in the international stage. 78% of respondents watch it daily, 62% trust in what they learn from newscast on the government television channels (73% in the category of retired and 31% in the young under 25 y.o.). Despite the fact that two thirds of Russians have access to the World Web, online media don’t enjoy confidence with total majority of Russians. Amongst the young people, only 25% prefer it to television newscast. The perceived generated vision of the conflict in the Eastern Ukraine as well as attitude towards players involved in the conflict, depends also on the number of accessible (exactly - actually used) information sources. This explains the below described trend of more positive perception of European countries amongst the young respondents, residing in large cities, respondents with higher education, and normally with higher income level.
Over the past year starting from last autumn, as the conflict in the East of Ukraine developing and the relationship between RF and EU worsening (after mutual sanctions having been imposed) we are evidencing anti-Europe moods growing. 45% of Russian respondents in November 2014 regarded European Union negatively, while such audience had made a third (36%) in June 2014, which is as twice as greater compared to the figure in December 2013 (only 17% of the interviewed were perceiving EU negatively). A share of Russian citizens, having positive mindset in relation of our neighbors in the West, has reduced over year of 2013 by 14 p.p. from 27% in 2013 down to 17% in summer, and down to 13% in autumn 2014. We have noted considerable reduction from 43% to 36% in percentage of respondents, perceiving EU neutrally. Some of our people who might still have felt indefinite in summer, have gained a foothold on their negative attitudes towards states of
The greatest percentage (16%) of respondents, sympathizing with EU, is found amongst the young between 15 and 24 of age. The least number (11%) has been detected in the retired, who have got used to regard states of
While in summer 36% of people in multi-million-strong cities were perceiving EU positively, we have found only 17% of such left by the autumn.
People with higher education used to get disappointed in European states less often, than their compatriots, having vocational secondary education.
Similar trend – i.e. greater number of “pro-European” responses in the young, high education diploma owners, as well as large cities residents, - can be traced on all the questions, asked to respondents. The given categories of people, typically have higher income level, access to various sources of information, more travel opportunities. However percentage of Russians in the indicated categories, sympathizing with
Percentage of respondents defining EU-Russia relationship as bad has increased twofold since the Ukrainian crisis commence. It has grown from 27% in November 2013 up to 54% for summer 2014 and up to 65% in autumn of the same year.
It’s remarkable that some group of respondents despite sanctions and supports to different parties in the Ukrainian conflict, believe relationship between our countries could be defined as good. Last autumn 43% of interviewees were thinking so, and in one year time their number went down by twice and made just 18%. Being bias free, such responses could be interpreted as expressing a wish rather than stating an actual fact.
This is proved by a survey, conducted by Bashkirova and partners earlier, according to which between 40% and 45% respondents find
Strange as it might seem, the greatest percentage of respondents, describing relationship between
Within respondents, using Internet most often, the percentage of positivists in terms of Russia-EU relationship is by 7 p.p. higher, which proves the thesis on correlation between the breadth of range of information sources and the respondents’ sympathies towards the European Union. We should note that this gap is not that big to make us speak of any “Internet Party” and “Television party”, adherent to totally opposite looks at political processes in
It’s not a surprise, some part of our compatriots don’t mind cooperation with EU. Nearly two thirds (60%) respondents are convinced
More than half of Russians (52% in November and 54% for 6 months ago) are of opinion European Union is an important partner to this country. The given view is equally common within respondents nearly of all ages. These are however only retired, having traditionally been used to see a “potential enemy” about NATO state first of all, who are willing to agree, and who make up noticeably small percentage (46% only).
We should also note that amongst people with higher education, percentage of citizens, realizing the importance of partnership with EU is by 9 p.p. greater compared to respondents with secondary or secondary vocational education certificate.
Urban residents (large cities in particular) used to define EU to be
A quarter of respondents, interviewed in November, and one-in- three of interviewed in June, agree European states’ aid and assistance hugely contribute to this country development. Neither education level nor place of residence influence respondents’ responses in this case. But despite this as well as in multiple questions described above, the young, and respondents - active Internet users were more often giving positive attributes to EU’s impact on this country.
Just 19% (still in summer we had by 6 p.p. (i.e. 25%) greater number of agreeing respondents) believe EU brings stability to regions surrounding
About two thirds of respondents – 74% believe
Percentage of supporters for energizing trade relationship has somewhat decreased. In summer 46% of our citizens were keeping to this opinion, but the figure has gone down to 40% by autumn. A reason for this might be realizing the aftermath for the Russian economy of several waves of sanctions, imposed by EU and responsive steps on the part of the Russian government. Europe is
One-in-three of the surveyed (33%) consider cooperation in the cultural and educational sphere effective, and nearly the same number of people (28%) admit scientific cooperation, mutually beneficial for scientists of both parties cooperation quite reasonable. The most well-known instance of successful scientific cooperation is Russian professional scientists’ participation in creation of the Large Hadron Collider in the European Organization for Nuclear Research. We could also recall to the International Space Station and many other projects both in the field of natural and humanitarian sciences. Respondents have also pointed to such popular cooperation areas as: environmental protection, fighting poverty and human rights field. It’s indicative that the distinction in assessments of the cooperation importance in cultural and educational field reaches 10 p.p. should we compare urban and rural residents’ responses. (Apparently, due to total lack of or limited access to cultural benefits, rural population finds these attributes less valuable or simply does not realize importance of international cooperation on the given areas).
The classical Russian Literature, Russian music, fine arts of XIX- XVIII centuries make without a doubt a part of European cultural legacy, Tolstoi, Dostoyevsky, Chekhov whose works are well known both in the West and Homeland. The avant-garde of 20-s of the XXth century also make part of the European culture. These include also literary works and fine arts of the second half of the last century, e.g. poetry by Brodsky, books by Solzhenitsyn, works by Shemyakin and some other contemporary authors. The Russian literature, theatre, painting might serve a cultural bridge between our countries, severed by the political confrontation.
Only 10% of our people know that the EU provides financial support for this country under certain cooperation programs. 2,4% of Russians said they could recollect names of specific programs in
More than half of Russians believe the European Union could render support to
More than half of our compatriots are sure there is enough information about EU available in
Perhaps EU relevant information availability depends on the sources of information a respondent prefers. Thus, within Russian population going online on daily basis we can find by 10 p.p. more satisfied in this terms respondents compared to the number of those watching television regularly. Besides a respondent’s awareness is also affected by the respondent’s place of residence. Residents of large cities with population above 500 000 appear most aware. Least aware are residents of rural areas and small towns, villages (the difference constitutes 10 p.p.).
It’s worth noting, that a very minority of our people is familiar with EU states from their own experience. Thus over 12 months time 6% of Russians have visited
Cooperation of EU and
In the given situation we should focus on intensifying cooperation in the field of culture, education, science and peaceful initiatives, where political interests of our countries are not involved, e.g. fighting radical Islamic fundamentalists in the
Plurality of Russian citizens (60%) is sure, that this country and
Ecology related projects could also be a promising cooperation direction.