Old Saint Basil's Cathedral in MoscowJohnson's Russia List title and scenes of Saint Petersburg
Excerpts from the JRL E-Mail Community :: Founded and Edited by David Johnson

November 13, 2001
Russians change their sympathies on foreign political issues

Author: Georgy Ilyichev
[from WPS Monitoring Agency, www.wps.ru/e_index.html]

THE PUBLIC OPINION FOUNDATION ASKED 1,500 RUSSIANS WHO THEY THOUGHT WERE RUSSIA'S ENEMIES AND FRIENDS OVER A NUMBER OF CONSECUTIVE YEARS Opinion poll show that Russian communist followers and rural dwellers show more signs of paranoia

In April 1999 and November 2001, respondents were asked to say who they thought Russia's allies were. No lists of potential enemies were offered. On both occasions, the respondents mentioned seven countries. The first time the list of allies began with Belarus, China, India, and Ukraine. The second time 6% more respondents mentioned the United States as the major ally, and China was dropped from the list altogether.

At the same time, 13% of respondents thought the United States were a potential danger to Russia all the same. 43% of respondents considered the United States a "hostile state". The same number of Russians, however, thought otherwise.

Here is another paradoxical factor. Despite being a Russian territory, Chechnya is considered a "potential external enemy of the Russian Federation, which may spark an all-out war on Russia."

This is how respondents see the three most potentially dangerous states for the Russian Federation today: Afghanistan - the United States - Chechnya. In 1999 they were the United States - NATO states - Great Britain, and in 1997 the United States - China - Chechnya.

First and foremost, so sharp a turn in views may be attributed to TV-propaganda and other techniques of mass manipulation. To say nothing of decades of ideological brainwashing and the pretty low IQ of respondents (many of them thought of Great Britain as a non-NATO state and Chechnya as a foreign state).

Respondents who are sure that Russia is surrounded by enemies only are mostly Gennadi Zyuganov's followers (29%) and residents of rural Russia (30%). Respondents who believe Russia and the Russian people have somebody to rely on are mostly people with higher education (66%) and people under the age of 35 (57%).

(Translated by A. Ignatkin)

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