MOSCOW, September 17 (RIA Novosti) – Russians have been feeling increasingly negative toward the United States over the past few months, and they now view the Western superpower more pessimistically than at any other point in more than four years, a new state survey showed Tuesday.
Thirty-five percent of respondents to the poll, conducted on August 24 and 25, said they felt “generally poor” or “very poor” about America, compared with 30 percent who felt that way in February, the state-run Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) said in an online statement.
Overall, Russians currently feel the most negative about America since September 2008, a month after Russia fought a small war against the South Caucasus nation of Georgia, whose president had close ties with the US.
The current overall sentiment, though, is more comparable to that of 2009, when the US and Russia marked a “reset” in bilateral relations.
Still, 46 percent of Russians currently hold a positive view of America, the pollster said, adding that the figure comprised mostly young adults and residents of big cities.
The people with the most negative perception of the US were respondents in small towns or those over the age of 45, the pollster added.
While attitudes toward the US have generally soured, perceptions of bilateral relations have stayed relatively the same over the course of this year, the pollster said. The August poll was conducted among 1,600 Russian residents across 42 regions.
Criticism of the US increased in Russia following America’s push last month to carry out a military strike on Syria in response to allegations that the Syrian government had used chemical weapons on civilians during its civil war.
The US House of Representatives was days away from voting on whether to approve a strike on Syria – a measure that had already been green-lighted by the US Senate – when Russia backed a deal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under international control.
After the Syrian government formally agreed to the handover, US President Barack Obama asked Congress to delay its vote to allow time for the transfer to be complete. The transfer officially has a November deadline.