Russian leaders often justify their desire to recognize the “near abroad” as the exclusive sphere of influence of the Kremlin with the need to protect Russian people, Russian language and culture. However, Putin’s actions began to have the opposite effect to that intended. An international survey conducted by the Gallup Institute clearly shows that this desire to save the “Russian world” does not please many Russians – and not only them.
In all 11 former Soviet republics surveyed, the level of approval for Russia’s leadership in 2022 has dropped sharply compared to 2021. On the other hand, the reluctance towards the Kremlin’s actions has increased.
The results of the research published by the Gallup Institute will definitely not please Putin, who dreams of rebuilding the Russian empire.
“The disapproval rate exceeds the approval rate”
Only in Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan more than 50 percent. of society has a positive view of Russia. Even there, support for the Kremlin has declined significantly. Only in these two countries and in Azerbaijan, less than half of those polled do not support the Kremlin’s policy. In all other countries of the former USSR, over 50% of respondents declare dislike of Russia. surveyed
In Kazakhstan, the percentage of people hostile to the Kremlin was 50%. In 2021, it was only 20 percent. The percentage of the population supporting Russia fell from 55 percent to 55 percent. up to 29 percent
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“In countries that have been generally skeptical of Russian rule in recent decades—Ukraine, Georgia, and the Baltic states—the difference between approval and disapproval has become a gulf,” according to a Gallup study titled “Empire Declines? Russia Loses Neighbors’ Support.”
“Even in four countries where Russian leaders have traditionally been treated with sympathy – Armenia, Moldova, Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan – the disapproval rate now exceeds the approval rate. In Armenia, for example, support has fallen by 13 percentage points (from 45% to 32%) ), while disapproval increased by 20 percentage points (from 38% to 58%).
Russians abroad are fed up with Putin
What is more, in Kazakhstan, Estonia and Latvia, i.e. countries with the largest percentage of Russian population, fewer and fewer representatives of this social group declare their favor towards the Russian authorities. “Russian nationalists, on the other hand, believe they have a mandate to protect diaspora members from perceived threats,” the authors of the study note.
The data also show that last year for the first time since the start of collecting such data – in 2005 – in Estonia and Latvia, there were more ethnic Russians who disapproved of the Kremlin’s actions than those who did – 53% and 53% respectively. down. 14 percent and 49 percent up to 14 percent
In Kazakhstan, there are more Russians who approve of the Kremlin’s actions (47% against 37% who disapprove of them), but the mood in this country has radically changed over the year. In 2021, the difference between attitudes was 42 percentage points. In 2022, it is only 10 percent.
In the years 2007-2009 in Kazakhstan, 33 percent. of the population called themselves Russians, 30% in Latvia and 29% in Estonia. In 2022, these percentages were 15%, 19% and 19%, respectively. and 21 percent-
China takes over
The change of mood in the countries of the former USSR basically corresponds to the balance of power in the world. By starting the war, Russia has seriously damaged its image in the eyes of all regions except sub-Saharan Africa – but even there the Kremlin’s reputation has been damaged.
Arsene Mpiana / AFP / AFP
Protesters wave Russian flags and hold a portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin outside the French Embassy in Kinshasa, March 1, 2023.
A Gallup poll published in late April showed that for the first time in 15 years of research, the majority of the world’s people condemned it Putin and his regime.
Russia is losing sympathy and influence in neighboring countries to other players. Countries located to the west of the Russian Federation are tightening relations with Europe and the US, while those to the south are drifting towards China. Last week, Beijing held its first face-to-face summit with the leaders of five Central Asian states.
To “ensure peace in the region,” he promised to help his neighbors bolster defense and security, flavoring his proposals with plans to provide 26 billion yuan ($3.6 billion) in financial support and “free assistance.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping said: “The world needs a prosperous Central Asia.
Moscow “has actually accepted that it cannot compete in the region at this level,” Raffaello Pantucci, a senior fellow at the Institute for Defense and Strategic Studies, a Singapore-based think tank, told The Wall Street Journal.
Central Asian countries want to have more opportunities for international cooperation. Pantucci said: “It’s interesting how openly and eagerly they seek recognition from China.