A median of only 30 percent residents of all countries view Russia favorably, the survey found, and Russia’s image trailed that of the United States, one of its primary geopolitical rivals, in almost every world region. In Poland and Jordan, the nations with the strongest negative sentiment, disapproval rates were at 80 percent. Other Western European and Middle Eastern countries, including Israel, Japan, Germany and France, also reported negative views of Russia among over 70 percent of the public.
Russia’s passage of a law banning gay “propaganda”, its 2014 annexation of Crimea from the Ukraine, and harsh crackdowns on political dissidents may have contributed to these low approval rates. In the U.S., for example, favorable opinions of Russia fell from 49 percent in 2011 to 22 percent in 2015.
President Vladimir Putin also fared poorly in the court of public opinion: a median of only 24 percent of countries surveyed said they have confidence that Putin will “do the right thing” in world affairs. Though his favorability remained high in Russia, at 88 percent, only 21 percent of Americans have confidence in Putin’s handling of international diplomacy.
The survey results were based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted in 40 nations among 45,435 respondents from March 25 to May 27, 2015.