While the U.S. government has increased military spending in Europe to counter Russian aggression and warily watches the Kremlin’s moves in Syria, Americans have begun to see the country in slightly less negative terms, a Gallup poll released Thursday indicated. But it’s not enough to call this an opinion detente, with the majority of Americans still holding a negative view of the Kremlin.
“Russia’s image has become slightly less negative this year among U.S. adults although it remains near the lowest level Gallup has recorded,” Gallup said. “After a period of several years that Putin has expressed criticism of the U.S., harbored alleged cyberterrorist Edward Snowden, restricted gay rights in his country and annexed Crimea, Americans do not have the same positive feelings toward Russia than in the halcyon period following the end of the Cold War.”
Overall, 30 percent of Americans view Russia favorably compared to 24 percent in 2015. Younger Americans, 18 to 34 years of age, gave the most positive view of Russia at 43 percent, significantly higher than older Americans who lived through the Cold War era when the U.S. and Russia were enemies. Gallup speculated the reason for the slight uptick may be “Russia simply isn’t dominating news headlines as it did in 2013 and 2014.”
Despite Russia’s military interventions in Ukraine and Syria, only 39 percent of Americans surveyed said Russia’s military poses a “critical threat” to the U.S., a decrease of 10 percent from last year.
While American’s do not hold a particularly positive view of the Kremlin, Russians feel even more strongly about Americans. A poll conducted a year ago by the Levada Center found more than 80 percent of Russians viewed Americans in a negative light and more than 70 percent of Russians viewed the European Union in a negative light, the Moscow Times reported.
Public displays of anti-American sentiment in Russia continue with a video released earlier this week showing young Russians pretending to die and accusing U.S. President Barack Obama of being responsible for killing 875 people every week, the Guardian reported. The video has been viewed more than 1.3 million times.
The Gallup poll was conducted Feb. 3-7 among 1,021 American adults. It had a margin of error of 4 percentage points.