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Russia and Europe

29% of Russians consider Russia to be a European country, 64% – a non-European. Back in 2019, these numbers were 37% and 55%, respectively. Overall, since 2008 the number of those who believe that Russia is a European country has decreased by almost half: from 52% to 29%. The number of those who believe otherwise rose in roughly the same proportion: from 36% to 64%.

At the same time, the view that Russia is a European country is most popular among older groups of Russians: in the age group of 55 and older, 33% think so. In contrast, the opposite point of view is characteristic of younger groups: 71% for respondents aged 18-24 and 69% for the 25-39 age group.

The share of Russians who consider themselves Europeans is also decreasing, although not that rapidly. In 2008, 35% considered themselves Europeans to some extent, by 2019 this share decreased to 32%, and at the beginning of 2021, it was already 27%. At the same time, the number of those who do not consider themselves European was growing: 52% in 2008, 63% in 2019, and 70% in 2021.

At the same time, almost a third (31%) of respondents aged 55 and older consider themselves Europeans, while for the groups of 18-24 and 25-39 years the figure is 23% each.

The number of those who believe that Russia is regarded with fear in the West decreased: 25% in 2018 and 18% in early 2021. At the same time, the share of those who believe that the West regards Russia with concern is stable: 23%. 12% believe that Russia is treated with respect; in 2018, 18% of respondents chose this option.

Younger groups of the population, however, feel a “warmer” attitude on the part of the West toward Russia. 16% in the 18-24-year-old group believe that the West regards Russia with respect and 15% – with sympathy. In the group of 55 and older, these figures are 11% and 6%, respectively.

30% of respondents believe that Russia has no special feelings about the West. This proportion has declined slightly since 2017 (41%). The share of those who believe the West is treated with respect has also decreased: 31% in 2019, 25% at the beginning of 2021.

Among respondents aged 18-24 a “warmer” attitude towards the countries of the West is more popular – 35% believe that they are treated with respect, 4% – with sympathy. For other age groups, a neutral attitude is the most popular.

This survey was conducted February 18 – 24, 2021, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1601 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators around 50%

2.9% for indicators around 25%/75%

2.0% for indicators around 10%/90%

1.5% for indicators around 5%/95%

The ANO Levada Center has been included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.

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