Most EU citizens see Russia as an ally or a partner, rather than a rival or an adversary, new narrative-busting polling reveals

Most EU citizens see Russia as an ally or a partner, rather than a rival or an adversary, new narrative-busting polling reveals

While alarm bells about conflict with Russia are constantly ringing in the Western press, the public, it turns out, may not be listening to them, with new research concluding the EU’s citizens have a less hostile view of Moscow.

The report, published by the Berlin-based European Council on Foreign Relations, which was set up with funds donated by multibillionaire George Soros, asked more than 17,000 respondents across 12 EU member states for their views on ties with foreign nations.

A majority of those who answered said that they took a positive view of Russia, with 7% describing it as “an ally” that “shares our interests and values,” and a further 35% saying the country is “a necessary partner” that “we must strategically cooperate with.” Only a total of 35% said they felt that it is a “rival” or an “adversary.”

Overall, more respondents felt that relations with Russia were important than with China, India or NATO member Turkey, with the authors of the report saying Ankara’s low favorability rating was “quite worrying.”

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Of the countries listed, the US and the UK were the two nations that EU residents felt were the most vital to maintain good relations with. More than 60% described both as “allies” or “partners.” However, those surveyed also expressed concerns over the American political system, with at least half of people in Germany, Sweden, Austria, France, Spain and the Netherlands saying it was either “completely” or “somewhat” broken.

At the same time, the outlook for Russia’s reputation abroad was not entirely rosy. While the majority of respondents said they would be confident in receiving a coronavirus vaccine developed in the EU, US or UK, only around one in three said they would be happy having a Russian-made jab. However, this was still significantly more than was the case for China, with just 24% of respondents expressing confidence in a Beijing-made formula. The EU is still conducting a long-running review of Moscow’s Sputnik V, despite disquiet from some national leaders over the slow pace of the appraisal.

In May, an explosive report published by the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee unveiled a number of proposals that were widely interpreted as supporting regime change in Russia. Mooted tactics included “the establishment of a Free Russia Television with 24/7 airtime” and foreign policy driven by a desire to convince Russians to turn on their government.

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Moscow now has ‘no relations’ with EU because Brussels has ‘destroyed’ once friendly ties, Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov claims

Speaking earlier this year, Moscow’s top diplomat, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, said that ties between his country and the EU had hit an all-time low. “There are no relations with the EU as an organization” at present, he claimed. “The entire infrastructure of these relations has been destroyed by unilateral decisions made from Brussels.”

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