The number of Russians who believe Western values to be beneficial to the country has fallen drastically in the last 20 years, according to a poll conducted earlier this month by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) and published on Tuesday.
“The West is not only a culture, but a whole system of socio-political and economic patterns and models,” wrote the pollsters, noting that while Russian society largely looked to the West in the 1990s, it has since changed its attitude towards Western values.
Back in 2000, only 10% of respondents felt that Western democracy and civilization were “harmful for Russians,” according to the poll. Now, however, that number has risen to 26%.
Another 33% said that Western civilization and culture were “unsuitable for Russia,” up from 25% in 2000, while over half of those polled, or some 59%, said they didn’t see any benefits to the Western model.
It was also noted that in the past 22 years, the share of people in Russia who hold a positive view of Western values has declined from 55% to 30%.
“The Western world has ceased to suit Russians as a source of reference points and development vectors. This opinion divides society into two groups,” stated VCIOM.
The survey revealed that Western values are embraced the most by younger people aged 18 to 34, 55-50% of whom believe the West is necessary for Russia and has much good to offer. However, after the age of 35 people start to hold opposing views, which intensify among those over 60. Some 70% of respondents in this age group regard Western values as unsuitable or destructive.
Over a third of those polled also believe that Western culture has a significant influence on the tastes of Russians, with some 44% saying this influence is “somewhat negative” or “very negative.” The number of Russians who see the influence as positive dropped from 17% in 2000 to just 9% in 2022.
The poll revealed that Russians who watch TV are more likely to hold a negative view of the West (78%), while active internet users are almost evenly divided: 44% expressed a negative view, while 48% see the West in a more positive light.
The poll was conducted by phone on August 5 and surveyed over 1,600 people from different regions of Russia.
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