Policy Memos

Young, Educated, Urban -and Anti-American: Recent Survey Data from Russia

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Despite claims by the media that anti-American sentiment is growing rapidly in Russia, recent survey data show most russians are neutral toward Americans and, by implication, the United States. Those who do express a point of view, however, are about twice as likely to be anti-American as pro-American. Moreover, groups expected to be more pro-American--the young, the highly educated, and residents in the capital cities--are in fact more likely to hold anti-American views. Income and occupation have no direct affect on views toward Americans, but the economic performance and the spread of market institutions in one's region of residence have predictable effects. Enthicity, religion, and media use also shape Russians' orientations toward Americans. Altogether, the data demonstrate that claims of rampant anti-Americanism are vastly exaggerated. However, policymakers should nonetheless be concerned, because anti-American sentiment appears to be more widespread among the young and among elites. Therefore, its political influence may be greater than its numberical strength implies. [...]

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About the author

Professor of Sociology
University of Wisconsin-Madison