29% of Russians deem Germany to be economic partner, 26% say it is political rival

Russians have mixed feelings about Russian-German relations: 29 percent deem Germany to be a strategic and economic partner, and 26 percent see it as a competitor and a rival, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said.

Russians have mixed feelings about Russian-German relations: 29 percent deem Germany to be a strategic and economic partner, and 26 percent see it as a competitor and a rival, the Russian Public Opinion Study Center (VTsIOM) said.

Thirteen percent described Germany as a friendly country and an ally, and 17 percent said it was an adversary. Fifteen percent of the 1,600 respondents polled in 132 populated localities in 46 regions on September 12-13 were undecided.

In the opinion of the respondents, rapprochement between the two countries is promoted by common economic matters (12 percent) and trade relations. Thirty-three percent said that the main impediment to friendlier relations was the influence of the United States and the European Union on Germany.

On one hand, the Ukraine situation is seen as a reason for fruitful cooperation (10 percent) and, on the other hand, it is deemed to be a dividing factor (13 percent).

Russians see Germany in contemporary Europe as a peacekeeper (44 percent) rather than an aggressor (31 percent). About a half (45 percent) say that Germany is holding a policy of isolationism and 34 percent call Germany a protector defending European interests in relations with other countries of the world.

The respondents have offered a negative opinion of the economic policy of Germany: half (49 percent) said Germany was an exploiter forcing other European countries into economic relationships to the German advantage. Twenty-eight percent said it was a financial donor of weaker European states.

Germany on the political scene is described as a creation of the United States rather than an independent actor: 66 percent of the respondents are confident that Germany\'s foreign policy is being directed by the United States, and 22 percent have the opposite opinion.

Thirteen percent of the respondents are pessimistic about the future of Russian-German relations and a third (32 percent) forecast an improvement in the upcoming two or three years. Another 38 percent think that relations between the two countries will not change in the near future.

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