US soldier in Ukraine
US servicemen participating in military exercises countries neighboring Russia, like this soldier in Ukraine in September 2014, feeds Russians' fear of the US superpower.
Credit: Yurko Dyachyshyn

Ever notice the bad guys in Hollywood flicks are often Russians? Well, most Russians feel the same way about Americans.

A new poll by a respected think tank in Moscow found a whopping 71 percent of Russians believe the United States plays a negative role in the world today. That’s up from 50 percent only two years ago.

Even more — 75 percent — believe the US and other Western powers are Russia’s adversaries, bent on harming its interests.

The figure may be startling, but it’s not exactly surprising.

Thanks mostly to a state-friendly media machine, the Kremlin has long stoked anti-Western sentiment to consolidate support among conservative Russians for President Vladimir Putin.

Moscow has repeatedly warned against the US and NATO holding military exercises near its borders. Many Russians even fear a US invasion of their country.

Anti-Western rhetoric dramatically increased last year after the crisis in Ukraine escalated into a full-blown war, which Russia has blamed on the Ukrainian government and its Western — particularly American — allies. 

Now, with Russia and the US locked into what analysts are calling a "proxy war" in Syria, that feeling isn't going away soon.

And unfortunately, it’s mutual: A Pew Research Center poll conducted last August found that 67 percent of Americans had an unfavorable view of Russia.

So here’s to happier days:

 

Senior Correspondent Dan Peleschuk is based in Kyiv, Ukraine.

Related Stories