Analysis & Opinions

Levada: Majority of Russians View Their Country, China as ‘Great,’ But Not US, Its Allies

| Sep. 13, 2023

The Levada Center has just released the latest installment in its series of polls on which countries Russians consider to be “great” as well as on their general attitudes toward certain countries. The polls show that the share of Russians who view their own country as great has almost doubled in the past two decades from 43% in 2002 to 80% in 2023 (Table 1) in a clear reflection that both a recent streak of increases in Russia’s national power and the Kremlin’s consistent messaging on Russia’s “rise from its knees” during Vladimir Putin’s rule continue to have an impact on the Russian public.

In addition to increasingly seeing their own country as great, Russians also see a similar trend in China.1 In fact, the share of Levada respondents who view China as great has more than tripled, from 19% in 2002 to 63% in 2023, reflecting the steady strengthening of Moscow’s alignment with Beijing. The share of Russians who view India, with which Russia has enjoyed steadily positive relations, as great, has also nearly tripled, from 5% to 14% during the same period.  

In contrast, even those Western countries that continue to be superior to Russia in components of national might such as GDP size (the U.S., Japan and Germany, when measured in constant international dollars, PPP) and population size (the U.S.), looked less great than Russia in the eyes of those polled by Levada. In fact, the share of Russians who view the U.S. as great halved from 62% in 2002 to 30% in 2023. The same period saw the share of Russians who view Japan, the U.K., Germany and France as great shrink at an even faster rate, ending at 9%, 9%, 8% and 3%, respectively, in 2023. The disparity between these Western countries’ global rankings in elements of national power such as economic output and military expenditures and the decline in their perceived greatness in the eyes of common Russians indicates that Russians’ perceptions may have been significantly influenced by the aforementioned Kremlin propaganda. Russia’s repeated use of force abroad under Putin’s watch may have also played a role in shaping Russians’ views on the greatness of their country (Table 1).

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation:

Saradzhyan, Simon.“Levada: Majority of Russians View Their Country, China as ‘Great,’ But Not US, Its Allies,” Russia Matters, September 13, 2023.

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