Poll: Most Russians remain indifferent to Western criticism
Only 27% of Russians believe that their country should pay attention to criticism from Western countries, although eight years ago this figure was 46%, based on the results of the survey carried out by the Levada Center, an independent Russian polling and sociological research organization.
A total of 43% of the respondents that pay no attention to Western criticism believe that the West in general does not treat Russia favorably, with 40% claiming that the West is seeking to weaken Russia as a competitor.
Around 87% of respondents believe that the West is pursuing a hostile policy towards Russia, with 46% of them attributing this to West intending to seize Russia’s natural resources, and 43% believing that the West is afraid of Russia, according to Russian newspaper Vedomosti.
Another 47% of the respondents stated that in the new circumstances, Moscow should focus on strengthening relations with China, while only 12% support the idea of developing relations with the CIS countries.
"The idea of the Customs Union does not seem to the Russian people as good as before: taking into account their negative attitude towards Ukraine, and seeing Belarus that does not behave as we would like it to," said Lev Gudkov, the director of Levada Center.
China is now perceived as a counterweight to the West. Although people were said to be cautious of it in the past in the belief that both economies would be disproportionate in the future (such sentiments were particularly expressed by officials), the situation has changed, the sociologist says.
If Russia has such a powerful enemy, it means that Russia itself is a powerful country, and understanding this fact helps increase self-esteem, according to political scientist Aleksei Makarkin.
"Georgia and the Baltic countries do not encourage [this feeling] as much as the United States does. Until recently, people have not felt the effects of sanctions believing that ‘the enemy’ was not able to do anything: although it existed, it was not catastrophic," the researcher said.