Russians Prefer Iran over U.S. – Poll

More Russians than ever support Iran in its standoff with the United States, though most of the populace is against the country taking sides in international disputes, according to a new poll by state-run VTsIOM.

Thirteen percent of Russians think Moscow should side with Tehran in case of its military conflict with the United States, a seven-percent increase from 2010, according to a survey released on Wednesday.

Support for the United States stood unchanged at 3 percent. Sixteen percent said Russia should look after its own interests, 22 percent thought it should not interfere and 29 percent said it should act as a mediator in case of a conflict.

The responses go in line with the general perception of the West: 25 percent of the respondents – the biggest figure since 2001 and an 11-percent increase from 2010 – think Russian-American ties are strained or downright bad, while 42 percent consider them good or normal and 26 percent believe them chilly, compared to 49 and 33 percent, respectively, in 2010.

The trend for Europe was the same, with 13 percent of Russians speaking about strained or bad ties with European Union, up from 6 percent in 2010. Still, 58 percent spoke favorably of Russian-European relations, while 20 percent attested them as chilly.

Thirty-eight percent of the polled said Russia should not ignore criticism from the West, while 50 percent said it should dismiss the rebukes. Of the latter, a combined 66 percent put the criticism down to hostile intentions from the West, while 29 percent said Western countries do not understand Russia.

The populace was also polled on the uprising in Syria, which claimed thousands of lives since last March, and came out divided, with 29 percent upholding a neutral stance, 23 percent backing Syria and 13 percent siding with the West. The remaining 35 percent were undecided.

The poll, held late February, covered 1,600 respondents nationwide and had a margin of error of 3.4 percentage points.


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