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Pew survey shows Russia perceived as less of a threat globally

  • 9 Dec 2019

Despite involvement in a number of conflicts in Eastern Europe and the Middle East, and accusations of interference in the US, Moscow enjoys increasingly positive perceptions.

Russian President Vladimir Putin chairs a meeting with Defence Ministry officials and representatives of the military-industrial complex enterprises at the Bocharov Ruchei state residence in Sochi, Russia December 4, 2019. ( Reuters )

Decades after the Cold War, populations across the globe by-and-large, do not see Russia as their greatest international threat, according to a survey by Pew Research Center.

Researchers asked populations in 17 different countries about which countries they saw as their biggest allies and threats.

In the US, 24 percent of the population saw Russia as the country’s greatest international threat, which put it on par with China.

One in ten Canadians named Russia as their greatest threat, while 20 percent of citizens named the US as their biggest threat.

While the proportion of those who see Moscow as the greatest threat to their societies decreases, under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin, Russia has become for visible on the international scene. According to the survey, 42 percent of people across 25 countries believed that Russia had become more influential globally.

More than half of Americans see Russia as playing a more important role in international affairs.

The perceptions did not necessarily mean in more people seeing Russia more positively. With the exception of India, at 15 percent, and Turkey, at nine percent, no more than four percent in any country named Russia as their most dependable ally.

The US

Despite disputes with a number of its traditional allies, the US still enjoyed favourable perceptions in a number of states. 

Around 82 percent of Israelis saw the Americans as their biggest ally, while a number of China’s neighbours also cited the US.

They included South Korea on 71 percent, the Philippines on 64 percent and Japan on 63 percent.

While large numbers in Canada, Australia, and South Korea see the US as an ally, many in these countries also saw it as a big threat.

China

A majority of people in most countries agree that Chinese influence on the world stage has grown considerably and saw China as one of the world’s biggest economic powers, alongside the US.

However, only a median of six percent considered China as theor most reliable ally, compared with 27 percent who named the US.

China is considered a threat by 62 percent of Filipinos, half of Japanese people, 40 percent of Australians, 32 percent of South Koreans and 21 percent of Indonesians.

In Canada, 32 percent of people saw China as a threat, the biggest figure for any state there.

The perception of the Chinese threat by South Koreans and Indonesians against China have increased in five years by 15 points and 11 points, respectively. However, the perceived threat of Beijing in Japan has fallen 18 percentage points.

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