Both countries got closer after the Sept.11 terrorism attacks. Opinion polls held in the USA in October of 2001 revealed, number of people considering Russia a friend or a close ally greatly increased then and is still very high nowadays.
According to the poll recently held by ABC TV company, the number makes up 63%, that is also a record figure since 1989. 28% of respondents are negative toward Russia, 8% have no definite point of view on the problem and 10% say, they think Russia to be US’s close ally. 53% of the respondents believe that Russia is rather a friendly power, not an ally; 24% are of an opinion that Russia is not a friend, but not an enemy either. Russia is considered an enemy by 7% Americans.
According to the statistics of Russia’s Center for Public Opinion Investigation, the situation is a bit different, but still agrees with the positive impression produced by the poll respondents. The Center asked respondents if Russia-USA relations are to change after the meeting of Vladimir Putin and George W.Bush. 53% respondents think the relations will considerably improve (or slightly improve), 37% say, the meeting will produce no effect on both countries and only 2% suppose that Russia-USA relations will considerably turn for the worse.
What does the situation mean? First, Americans do not want to see an enemy in Russia (indeed, it is better to be on friendly terms with a nuclear power like Russia), but at the same time the USA does not make Russia its ally. And this is regardless of the fact that from the highest platform US top officials already declared Russia its ally in the anti-terror coalition. Second, negative attitude to Russia from the USA is a result of well-done propaganda. A parallel unobtrusively drawn between Russia and “axis of evil” countries resulted in the negative opinion. For example, it is said in the USA that Russia supplies nuclear technologies to Iran, defends Saddam Hussein, and so on.
So-called elite clubs have considerably contributed in formation of US’s policy concerning Russia and states situated on the post-Soviet territory. Such clubs are connected with diasporas and people coming from regions suffering from Russia’s oppression and colonial usurpation. The largest diaspora in the USA is a Polish one with Former Adviser for national security to the US president Zbignev Brzezinski at head. This diaspora is the most influential one in the USA now. Such groups love democracy, but the love is smaller than hatred against Russia. People coming from former Soviet republics of Ukraine, Belarus and Baltic republics are members of these groups, that popularize the idea that Russia has always been an oppressor against these countries and hopes to keep on oppressing in the future. There are also native Americans among foes of Russia, congressman Jessy Helms is among them. There is one more group that strictly criticizes Russia, the group connected with law enforcement organizations. This criticism is directed against Russia for human rights violation in Chechnya and in the country on the whole, for suppression of freedom of speech. Majority of facts confirming human rights violation in Russia are a widely advertised issue in the mass media. In fact, violation of human rights in Turkey is even more cruel and greater, but the world is not informed about them. And Russia, on the contrary, is practically a European civilized country to which stricter demands are applied.
There is no objective, adequate anti-Americanism in Russia, anti-Americanism in Russia is just a frame for discussion of different social and political problems, a way to avoid settlement of these problems. The situation here in Russia is practically the same as in the USA, but three times as much. “For dozens of years the world has been suffering from opposition between East and West, and when it stopped, the situation mechanically remained the same within ten years more. When reforming of relationships in the world started, it became evident that Russia, regarding all characteristics, is a strategic partner and ally to the West. We will witness Russia – America closing in, although the process is unlikely to be fast and easy. The closing in with the West is a strategic and irreversible process. Those groups that are skeptical about warming of relations between Russia and the USA and put up resistance to the process, are just groups with private local interests, which are unlikely to outbalance main far-reaching national interests of both countries”, director of the Institute for political researches Sergey Markov says.
Dmitry Litvinovich PRAVDA.Ru
Translated by Maria Gousseva