As federal officials push ahead with the unpopular decision to raise the country’s retirement age, Russians’ attitudes about the West are more positive than at any time since Moscow annexed Crimea.
According to a new poll by the Levada Center, July 2018 marked the first time since March 2014 that positive attitudes about the United States and European Union outweighed negative attitudes: 42 percent versus 40 percent (for the U.S.) and 42 percent versus 38 percent (for the EU). As recently as May 2018, support for the West was dramatically lower: 20 percent for the United States and 26 percent for the European Union.
As Russians’ views about the West turn rosier, approval ratings for the country’s leaders have slipped to post-Crimea lows. President Vladimir Putin’s job approval rating is now 67 percent, and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev’s rating has fallen to 31 percent (a historic low).