But Why Is the USA So Unpopular In Russia?

I was really surprised, when I recently read this Wikipedia article on Antiamericanism. Wikipedia isn’t always perfect, I know. But these statistics, so they should be accurate.

Anyways, as you can see, we have one of the highest disapproval ratings in the current Russia:

Why on earth Russia?

I know we aren’t too popular in the Muslim world, doubtless because we don’t circumcise our women and let them drive. But Russia?

The following quote from the Wiki article is also confusing:

The Cold War is an ironic reference, I think. Because I was a little kid and in high school, during the Cold War. And all I ever heard was Soviet citizens would have just loved to come to our country. One high school teacher even told us pointblank, when three people from the USSR visit the USA, one is always KGB, to keep them from defecting. Get it?

I know at the fall of the Soviet regime, there was some backpedaling in the US media. They said, okay, maybe they ALL don’t want to defect.

But they all love us in Russia, don’t they? Or moreover, I should say, Why would they ever hate us?

This is GD. So speculate and add whatever you think is relevant to the discussion. But please don’t say why you hate the USA. I am just curious why Russia would:).


Must not be so bad or we wouldnt have so many Russian immigrants living here.

There’s a huge gap between wanting to come to the US, and disapproving of the US. The two things are not the same at all.

Your reference to the Islamic world in fact makes the point rather neatly. I recall that one of the many not-very-well-thought-out initiatives of the Bush II regime was a publicity campaign designed to inform the world - and particularly the Islamic world - that Muslims were well-treated in the US. It had to be explained to them in words of one syllable that the Islamic world already knew this; everyone knew that American Muslims had it very good indeed, and typically had it better that Muslims living under oppressive regimes in the Islamic world. Yet the same people still disapproved of America - not because of how the US treated Muslims in America, but because of how it treated Muslims everywhere else. You jokingly suggest that Muslims today might disapprove of the US because “we don’t circumcise our women and let them drive”, but of course you know that disapproval has more to do with US actions in Afghanistan and Iraq, its uncritical support of Israel, etc, etc.

And there’s a general truth at work here. For people outside the US, what mainly determines whether they approve of the US is going to be the US’s foreign policy, and the actions taken to implement that policy. There is no inconsistency at all in recognizing that Americans as a nation are a hospitable and civilised people and that the country is prosperous and enjoys a high degree of freedom, and at at the same time believing that the attitude of the US government is inimical to your own country, and that its foreign policy is unjust and/or disadvantageous to you.

So, if Russians disapprove of the US, that’s likely to be driven by Russian perceptions of US policy towards Russia, its ambitions in the region, etc, etc. The extension of NATO eastwards, for example, is hardly something at which you would expect Russians to rejoice. Nor is US backing for the not-very-friendly-towards-Russia government which took power in Ukraine in the 2014 revolution.

Whether those perceptions of US foreign policy are accurate or justified is beside the point; what matters is that they have nothing to do with what Russians may think about life in the US.

Cold War, American arrogance (real or perceived,) Western culture, etc.

Let the man himself explain:



They believe that Russia is destined to be the most powerful country in the world, and America is the one holding them back. It’s pretty simple, really. America has to be their enemies, because otherwise they’d have to take responsibility for their own failings.

Do “they”.

To the best of my knowledge, yes.

Ongoing US sanctions can’t be helping. Sanctions are (rightly or wrongly) seen as a big contributor to the current Russian recession. Also lower oil prices, which are partly a result of increased US production.

I think that freedom in Russia is a very thin veneer add to this there is a great deal of poverty that is being blamed on the sanctions supported by America, the truth is that there was a great deal of poverty in Russia before the sanctions. Russia is a massive country where outside of the cities the population is mainly of peasant stock where since the fall of communism life has become harsh and many would like to see a return to communism. The Russian government has to blame someone for the mess they have made of their country and America is the scapegoat. You do not expect the Russian government to admit that the Russian Mafia are the true power behind the throne do you?

I’d say it’s more specific than that. The Kremlin is insanely good at disseminating their own version of events and getting the russian people to buy it (even when the entire rest of the international community take a different view and seem to have all the empirical data on their side).

This often includes negative conspiracy theories about the US. We could discuss why they do this, but for the purpose of this thread it’s enough to say that they do, and are very effective in building cynicism towards the US.

I’d say if anti-americanism is at a high right now, it’s probably due to Syria. The Kermlin needs to describe events such that Russia’s intervention is an unequivocal good. And since their objectives conflict somewhat with America’s that must mean that America must be doing something at least partially evil.
(Before anyone cries out that this is what all governments do: there’s a difference between trying to put events in a positive light in a country with a free press, and Russia happily making up facts and not allowing anyone to say otherwise)

Seems to me that it’s rather the case that you are all very anti-Russian.
Everything Russia says is taken as lies at face value, while anything anti-Russian in the western press is gobbled up like Borsjt.

I actually like the majority of Russians that I have met both in Russia, Europe and London, I also visited E. Germany before the wall came down, the problem is not the people, working people are the same everywhere, the problem is the people who govern them. I do not see that as being anti Russian or anti anyone

Seems to me that you are dismissing any criticism of Russia as anti-Russianism without considering the merits (or lack thereof) of the criticism.

Enjoy your borscht.

I have considered the merits and most often the spin and propaganda is coming from the west. Russians really are a lot more direct and honest. Something Americans have some trouble dealing with.

It really isn’t to do with Syria - why would Russians give a fuck about Syria, it’s a stupid imperial nonsense largely played out by clients.

Above is a link to Putin explaining, see post #5.

Strange that so many press freedom NGOs rank Russia among the worst countries in the world, e.g. Reporters Without Borders putting Russia 148th out of 180 countries.

But OTOH, maybe the russian media is the most trustworthy.
After all, only they, unique among the world’s media, dare to tell the truth about the Ukraine, malaysia airlines flight 17, the Russian economy, Litvienko, the hospitals bombed in Syria, khodorkovsky (Yukos)…etc etc – that the russian government is not culpable in any way, and everything’s great. Anything that’s not great is someone else’s fault.

That’s adorable. While I would not deign to suggest that America isn’t rife with political propaganda, and while individual Russians I have known have been delightful people, any implication that the Russian government is “direct and honest” and not in fact engaged in a blatant and widespread campaign of anti-Western propaganda is ludicrous in the face of it.

Admittedly RT has a way to go before it manages to reach FoxNews-level spin, but it’s getting there.

On the face of it, that’s an interesting video, but a careful observer can note certain indications that Putin is lying.

Most Russians fundamentally disagree with the political/economic/social values held by most Americans. It doesn’t need to be much more complicated than that.

The liberal-leaning Levada polling outfit estimates Russians prefer “Soviet style political system” to “Western style democracy”, 35% to 10%, and prefer an economy based on “state planning and distribution” to one based on “private property and markets” by 55% to 25% (the two are not the same, but that’s a separate issue). The link is to Karlin’s blog, but you can follow it to the Levada Centre polls.

Russians also mostly reject the idea that ‘sovereignty resides with the people’ (this is from an Ukrainian outfit):

Russians aren’t conservative Muslims, obviously, and they have different sets of criticisms of the west and of America, but they do fundamentally disagree with some basic values held by most Americans. Also, we were, you know, their enemy back in Soviet times, a period for which a great many Russians are nostalgic.