Who Do Russians See As Their Enemies?

Over the last few years, Russia under President Vladimir Putin has been accused of aggressively ramping up its military activity, and a number of their former diplomatic relationships have been shaken In 2016, the independent Levada Center polling agency surveyed Russian citizens on which countries were publicly perceived as enemies, and while some answers, like the United States were predictable, others came as quite a surprise

So, which countries are seen as Russia’s biggest enemies? Well, first on the list is obviously the US Nearly three quarters of those polled listed America as an enemy, and considering their long and tumultuous history, that’s not unexpected But following half a century of the Cold War, relations actually warmed considerably after the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 With Boris Yeltsin as the president of the new Russian Republic from ‘91 to 1999, the pro-Western leader incorporated a number of US-friendly reforms, which many say brought the country out of despondency But when Vladimir Putin took power in 1999, his territorial aggression and military buildup has led to a strong response from the US

In particular, Russia’s invasion of Crimea in Ukraine in 2014 effectively destroyed any lasting goodwill, with the US and EU pushing severe sanctions Moreover, Russia’s willingness to provide political asylum for whistleblower Edward Snowden has been seen as an affront to the United States, which has already charged him with espionage for revealing the extent of their spying program And despite Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the former Soviet country is also viewed with significant distrust About half of Russians polled listed Ukraine as an enemy, stemming from the severe response to the Crimean annexation And those tensions have grown since 2015, when only about 37% of Russians viewed the neighboring country as an enemy

Part of this stems from Ukraine’s ending military cooperation, as well as a ban on military equipment being sold to Russia Throughout 2015, Ukraine also banned flights between the two countries, and closed its airspace to any Russian military or civilian aircrafts Ukraine’s closer ties to the European Union in spite of Russia have painted them as having betrayed their soviet roots But while the US and Ukraine are not particularly surprising enemies of Russia, one country that has increasingly been seen as an adversary is Turkey In just one year, Turkey has jumped from 1 in 100 Russians viewing them as an enemy, to nearly one in three

Like the US, relations between Turkey and Russia warmed considerably following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and in fact the two eventually became heavily dependent on trade with each other Turkey has actually been one of the most visited countries by Russian tourists, right up until 2015 when their relationship collapsed after Turkey shot down a Russian jet near the Turkish-Syrian border This polarizing event was seen as Turkey meddling in Russia’s military actions in Syria Although in June 2016, Turkey’s president apologized for the downing of the jet, and called for renewed relations, the diplomatic damage between the two countries was done, and public opinion of Turkey has collapsed Russia’s involvement in the Syrian Civil War, and its recent territorial aggressions, imply that Russia isn’t overly concerned with mending relations with countries they see as enemies

But we’ve seen this before, during the Cold War, when it was Russia against the West Today, a similar ideological split is brewing, so are we on the brink of a New Cold War? Watch this video to find out! Thanks for watching seeker daily, don’t forget to like and subscribe for new videos every day!

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