Half of Russians think U.S. endangers Russian development - poll

Over half of Russians say there is a threat coming from the United States, first and foremost, to Russia's development, Levada Center told Interfax.

Over half of Russians say there is a threat coming from the United States, first and foremost, to Russia's development, Levada Center told Interfax.

According to sociologists, 59 percent believe that Russia has reasons to fear the United States but only 19 percent are confident about that. A third of the respondents (32 percent) maintain an opposite viewpoint, including 6 percent who definitely do not see any threats coming from the United States. The percentage of fearful respondents has grown in the past eight years (from 47 percent in 2007), and the number of their opponents has declined (from 42 percent) in the same period.

The respondents who acknowledge the existence of this danger say that the main threat posed by Washington is the hindrance to Russia's development (48 percent). In the opinion of 40 percent, the United States wants to take control of the Russian economy, 36 percent suspect the intention to push alien ideas and values, 31 percent think a U.S. military invasion and occupation of their country is possible, and 24 percent fear that the United States may control Russia's political course. Levada Center polled 1,600 respondents in 134 populated areas in 46 regions on April 17-20.

Most respondents (55 percent) believe there can be no winners in a hypothetical military conflict between Russia and the United States or NATO, 33 percent are sure that the victory will be won by Russia, and 5 percent have faith in the U.S. military might.

Over half of the respondents (42 percent) called the Russian president's order to be the first to use nuclear weapons in a hypothetical military conflict with the West unlikely, and 13 percent deem this situation completely unrealistic. Only a quarter of the respondents (25 percent) believe this is a possible scenario, and 7 percent say this probability is high.

The respondents were somewhat scared by the president's statement that he was prepared to put nuclear forces on high alert after the power grab in Ukraine. On a five-point scale where one stands for "absolutely no fear" and five for "extreme fear", the general sentiment measured higher than average, 2.85 points.

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