Most Russians want Moscow to treat West as partners – opinion poll

The majority of respondents in a recent Russian opinion poll believe their country should treat Western nations as partners – yet the public is split over Russia seeking re-entry to the G7 club of developed countries.

According to the survey, conducted by the independent Russian public opinion research center Levada in late June and released on Thursday, 61 percent of Russian citizens feel Moscow must treat the collective West as a partner, while 16 percent see Western nations as competitors and five percent as enemies.

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People take fruits and vegetables given away in central Madrid by Spanish farmers to protest against Russia's ban on vegetables, meat, fish, milk and dairy imports from the European Union © Andrea Comas

The proportion has changed significantly since January 2017 when 43 percent of Russians supported partner relations with the West, 31 percent saw the West as competitors and seven percent as enemies.

Also, in this year’s poll 41 percent of respondents said that it is important for Russia to re-enter the Group of Seven (G7) club of developed nations, turning it back into the G8. However, 43 percent of Russians dismissed such a goal as unimportant.

In 1995, when Russia joined the G8, 64 percent of Russians felt the move was important while 15 percent held the view that participation in the bloc made little difference. 

The G7 excluded Russia from its ranks in 2014 over its reunification with the Crimean Republic.

Earlier this year US President Donald Trump said that he would like to see Russia participating more in G7 activities. This position garnered support from newly-elected Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, but the rest of the G7 nations opposed it.

However, Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said Russian interest in the G8 “was not as it used to be,” adding that Moscow preferred to work within the G20 format.

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