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WORLD | 04-12-2018 18:09

Pew study: Image of Putin suffers internationally

But Russia plays an increasingly more important role in international affairs, respondents say.

One in ten Argentines has a “very favourable” opinion of Russia and is highly confident in President Vladimir Putin’s decision-making power in regards to world affairs, according to a newly-released report by the Pew Research Center.

Across 25 countries surveyed, a median of roughly four-in-ten (42 percent) believe Russia’s international stature is significantly growing compared to 10 years ago. The survey, however, finds views of Putin and the Russian Federation are generally negative.

Globally, only 34 percent express a positive view of Russia and only in four countries – the Philippines, Tunisia, South Korea and Greece – at least half the people surveyed has a positive view of Russia.

By contrast, majorities in North America and much of Europe see the country in a negative light. In Europe, a regional median of 27 percent across 10 countries has a favourable opinion of Russia; in the United States the share is just 21 percent.

In six European countries polled, those who are more likely to trust Putin belong to right-wing populist parties, like France’s National Front or Italy’s Northern League. In 10 of 25 countries surveyed, young adults between 18 and 29 years old tend to have a positive opinion of Russia, compared to those who are 50 and older.

Views of Russia in other regions are more mixed. In Asia, ratings are mostly positive in the Philippines and South Korea, but are negative by more than two-to-one in Australia and Japan.

“Since Pew Research Centre first asked the question in 2014, confidence in Putin has increased dramatically from 38 percent to 61 percent as the Philippines has established closer ties with Russia while distancing itself from the US,” the survey finds.

In the Middle East, 55 percent of Tunisians express a positive view of Russia, compared with just 34 percent of Israelis who do.

Confidence in Russian President Vladimir Putin doing the right thing in regards to world affairs is generally low. Among 25 countries, only about a quarter (26 percent) express confidence in Putin’s power, while 63 percent do not.

But “Putin is not the only world leader whose international image currently suffers,” according to the Pew Research Centre. Compared to other world leaders, also US President Donald Trump and Chinese Premier Xi Jinping tend to fare worse in the court of public opinion.

Released in December 2018, the Pew Research Centre’s report analyses the responses of more than 26,600 people interviewed between May and August 2018. Countries surveyed are the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Germany, France, Spain, Poland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Philippines, South Korea, Indonesia, Australia, Japan, Tunisia, Israel, Nigeria, Kenya, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil and Argentina.

Survey data for this report were collected prior to the recent Russian and Ukrainian military involvement over the Kerch Strait. 

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Giulia Petroni

Giulia Petroni

Giulia Petroni is a journalism student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University.

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