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“Nothing personal, just business”: VTsIOM spoke about the change in attitude of Russians towards Europe

Date: April 17, 2024 Time: 08:31:50

Kirill Rodin, director of work with government bodies at VTsIOM, visited the Komsomolskaya Pravda studio at the Eastern Forum.

Kirill Rodin, director of work with government bodies at VTsIOM, visited the Komsomolskaya Pravda studio at the Eastern Forum. He spoke about the attitude of Russians to the country’s turn to the East.

– Kirill Sergeevich, it is probably much more difficult to make a mental turn to the East than an economic one, right? To what extent do you think, as a sociologist, that both officials and the broader population are beginning to adapt more to the fact that we are not so much a European country as a Eurasian country?

– I was a little surprised to find that the wise men began to prepare for this turn much earlier, even before the expression “turn to the east” was firmly included in the information agenda.

Here is an example. In 1999 we asked whether relations between Russia and Europe could be based on trust. And in 1999, 43% of the population told us about their lack of trust in European partners. When we asked the same question in 2023, those who distrust Europe were already 63%. That is, this participation increased by 20%. Is this a lot? Of course, this is significant: it is about a fifth of Russian society. But can we say that the turn to the East surprised public opinion? No, this feeling began to mature in the late 90s and early 2000s.

– What is China for Russia today? Is this an ally? Is this an example to follow? Is this some kind of threat?

– We call this topic: “who are our friends and our enemies”. There is good news and bad news here. We have many more friends compared to 2014. Then basically three countries were named: China, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

– Since then, probably, two main friends have remained.

– Yes. Even the third friend stayed, but he went from the top 3 to the top 5. Kazakhstan, I mean. In 2022, the number of friends has increased significantly. China remains in first place, Belarus in second place, followed by India, Turkey, Kazakhstan and Serbia and Iran close the list. These are the countries that get more than 10%.

– You named your friends, now let’s move on to the enemies.

– Yes, the bad news is that there are also more enemies. Who were our enemies in 2014? There were also three main ones: the United States, Ukraine and Germany. Germany began to appear here on the list as one of the leaders of the European Union. We conducted a study in 2022, but the difference here is small, the picture has not changed much. The United States remains in first place, but in reality its position has not changed since 2014. If in 2014 73% told us this, now 76% tell us the same.

– Overwhelming majority.

– Yes. Once again, returning to the wisdom of the crowd: for the wise crowd, our anger and confrontation, when we stopped calling our partners partners, was no surprise. Ukraine also takes second place, but then the list expands noticeably, but it expands with the fact that European countries have received their own subjectivity. Our list was supplemented by the United Kingdom, Germany, Poland, France, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and again, these are the countries that get more than 10% of the audience. I mean, this is not the periphery of public opinion, it’s actually a fairly accurate three-dimensional view of this image. I do not want to use the word “enemies” again: let us call this audience hostile to the policies pursued by the Russian Federation.

– How flexible can this public opinion be? If the landscape changes, will public opinion change quickly?

– No.

– Will we be able to be friends of Ukraine again at some point?

– Much depends on how stable this stereotype is formed in public opinion. There are things that can easily disappear from public opinion: there are some events in which the foam has disappeared and everyone has forgotten about it. But there are quite significant established trends.

Public opinion is not willing to talk about isolation. They say Russia needs to build a stockade around it. No, public opinion is also rational: if it benefits us, we must cooperate, even with European countries. But we can no longer speak of trust as the basis of this association. That old Russian business word won’t work here with the boys. The Europeans have already lost the right to their word as an honest trader. Nothing personal, just business.

– What happens to the values? Are Russians ready to adapt to the Eastern style of thinking or do we not need it at all?

– 65% of respondents today claim that Russia is a special type of Eurasian civilization. The Russians, in my view, have become much wiser than they were in the last 20 or 30 years. The average person has become quite experienced, observant, rational and, in this sense, wise. Today we say: yes, we are turning towards the East, but that does not mean that we should give up everything and start behaving like Easterners. No need to go too far. Experience tells us that we probably have our own unique path, Eurasianism, a historical experience that has absorbed both Europe and Asia. In addition, among the respondents there are representatives of the Asian part of our continent, the East, the Caucasus and the North. From Primorye to Kaliningrad – these are all the people who answer these questions. And these people today say that they are making their civilizational choice and that they are no longer trying to run after someone somewhere. Since it is impossible to reach anyone, you must slowly go your own way.

* This website provides news content gathered from various internet sources. It is crucial to understand that we are not responsible for the accuracy, completeness, or reliability of the information presented Read More

Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.
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