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Russians are feeling much better about Americans after the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki, Finland. Russian independent pollster Levada shows a marked decrease in anti-Americanism after the meeting between the two leaders.
Some 83 percent of respondents told Levada that they closely followed or heard about President Vladimir Putin’s first sit-down meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump on July 16. The summit was largely seen as a success by Russian politicians and in state-run television coverage.
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For the first time since 2014, the number of Russians who said they had “positive” feelings towards the United States (42 percent) outweighed those who reported “negative” feelings (40 percent), reported The Moscow Times.
The other factor weighing on Russian public opinion is the sharp drop in living standards they have experienced since the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the general increase in tensions with the West.
“The population is tired of the policy of confrontation with the West, which has been going on for several years and has resulted in the decline of people’s incomes,” Levada said.
Citing a drop in the government’s approval rating according to another survey in July, the pollster noted that a “sense of mass resentment” has grown from “the idea that the country’s leadership seeks to achieve its geopolitical goals at the expense of the population.”
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Wartime spending and other defense expenditures become less justified, Levada argues, “while threats from the West are quickly beginning to be re-evaluated,” added The Moscow Times.
Although the Kremlin has succeeded in motivating the Russian population to endure hardships over the last few years by foreign policy successes, the public understands that these developments have come at a cost in terms of buying power and reduced incomes.