Anti-Russian sentiment

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The Chimera of the Mysterious Russian Soul, by Lena Hades, depicting common stereotypes of foreigners about Russians[1]
"Exposed to the world's contempt". Illustration from the "Puck" satirical magazine, 1903

Anti-Russian sentiment (or Russophobia) is a diverse spectrum of negative feelings, dislikes, fears, aversion, derision and/or prejudice of Russia, Russians or Russian culture.[2][3] A wide variety of mass culture clichés about Russia and Russians exists in the Western world. Many of these stereotypes were originally developed during the Cold War,[4][5] and were primarily used as elements of political war against the Soviet Union. Some of these prejudices are still observed in the discussions of the relations with Russia.[6] Negative representation of Russia and Russians in modern popular culture is also often described as functional, as stereotypes about Russia may be used for framing reality, like creating an image of an enemy, or an excuse, or an explanation for compensatory reasons.[7][8][9][10] Hollywood has been criticised for having Russians as its "go-to villains".[11] Several factors leading to such strong anti-Russian sentiment mostly surrounds historical grievances (including Soviet war crimes), economic competition, imperialist legacies and racism.[citation needed]

On the other hand, Russian nationalists and apologists of the Russian politics are sometimes criticised for using allegations of "Russophobia" as a form of propaganda to counter criticism of Russia.[12][13] The opposite of Russophobia is Russophilia.

Statistics[edit]

Results of 2017 Pew Research Center poll.
Views of Russia's influence by country[14]
Sorted by Unfavorable
Country polled Favorable Unfavorable Neutral Change from 2015
 Jordan
5%
93%
2 Decrease 18
 Netherlands
15%
82%
3 No Data
 Sweden
18%
78%
4 No Data
 Poland
21%
69%
10 Increase 15
 Germany
27%
67%
6 Steady 27
 Japan
26%
64%
10 Increase 21
 United States
29%
63%
9 Increase 22
 Turkey
32%
62%
6 Increase 15
 France
36%
62%
2 Increase 30
 Israel
35%
61%
3 Increase 25
 Spain
27%
60%
13 Increase 25
 United Kingdom
26%
59%
15 Increase 18
 Canada
27%
59%
14 Increase 26
 Australia
37%
55%
7 Increase 24
 Italy
35%
54%
11 Increase 27
 Hungary
39%
48%
13 No Data
 Lebanon
47%
48%
5 Increase 44
 South Korea
36%
41%
23 Decrease 46
 Indonesia
36%
40%
24 Increase 28
 South Africa
28%
40%
32 Increase 25
 Tunisia
39%
37%
24 No Data
 Brazil
35%
36%
29 Increase 26
 Venezuela
38%
33%
30 Increase 31
 Chile
34%
31%
34 Increase 31
 Colombia
32%
31%
37 No Data
 Greece
64%
31%
5 No Data
 Peru
41%
31%
28 Increase 33
 Kenya
27%
29%
44 Decrease 35
 Nigeria
45%
29%
27 Increase 39
 Argentina
27%
27%
46 Steady 27
 Philippines
55%
26%
19 Increase 44
 Mexico
32%
25%
43 Increase 24
 Ghana
33%
24%
43 Decrease 56
 Tanzania
45%
21%
34 Increase 38
 Senegal
34%
18%
48 Increase 32
 India
47%
13%
40 Increase 43
 Vietnam
83%
13%
5 Increase 75
 Russia
88%
10%
1 Decrease 93

In October 2004, the International Gallup Organization announced that according to its poll, anti-Russia sentiment remained fairly strong throughout Europe and the West in general. It found that Russia was the least popular G-8 country globally. The percentage of population with a "very negative" or "fairly negative" perception of Russia was 73% in Kosovo, 62% in Finland, 57% in Norway, 42% in the Czech Republic and Switzerland, 37% in Germany, 32% in Denmark and Poland, and 23% in Estonia. Overall, the percentage of respondents with a positive view of Russia was only 31%.[15][16][17]

According to a 2014 survey by Pew Research Center, attitudes towards Russia in most countries worsened considerably during Russia's involvement in the 2014 crisis in Ukraine. From 2013 to 2014, the median negative attitudes in Europe rose from 54% to 75%, and from 43% to 72% in the United States. Negative attitudes also rose compared to 2013 throughout the Middle East, Latin America, Asia and Africa.[18]

There is the question of whether or not negative attitudes towards Russia and frequent criticism of the Russian government in western media contributes to negative attitudes towards Russian people and culture. In a Guardian article, British academic Piers Robinson claims that "Indeed western governments frequently engage in strategies of manipulation through deception involving exaggeration, omission and misdirection".[19] In a 2012 survey, the percentage of Russian immigrants in the EU that indicated that they had experienced racially motivated hate crimes was 5%, which is less than the average of 10% reported by several groups of immigrants and ethnic minorities in the EU.[20] 17% of Russian immigrants in the EU said that they had been victims of crimes the last 12 months, for example, theft, attacks, frightening threats or harassment, as compared to an average of 24% among several groups of immigrants and ethnic minorities.[21]

History[edit]

1831 French engraving "Barbarism and Cholera enter Europe. Polish people fight, the powers make the protocols and France..." by Denis Auguste Marie Raffet, depicting Russian suppression of November Uprising in Poland in 1831.[22]

On 19 October 1797 the French Directory received a document from a Polish general, Michał Sokolnicki, entitled "Aperçu sur la Russie". This became known as the so-called "Testament of Peter the Great" and was first published in October 1812, during the Napoleonic wars, in Charles Louis-Lesur's much-read Des progrès de la puissance russe: this was at the behest of Napoleon I, who ordered a series of articles to be published showing that "Europe is inevitably in the process of becoming booty for Russia".[23][24] Subsequent to the Napoleonic wars, propaganda against Russia was continued by Napoleon's former confessor, Dominique Georges-Frédéric de Pradt, who in a series of books portrayed Russia as a "despotic" and "Asiatic" power hungry to conquer Europe.[25] With reference to Russia's new constitutional laws in 1811 the Savoyard philosopher Joseph de Maistre wrote the now famous statement: "Every nation gets the government it deserves" ("Toute nation a le gouvernement qu'elle mérite").[26][27]

In the 1815-1840 period British commentators began complaining about the extreme conservatism of Russia and its efforts to stop or reverse reforms.[28] Fears grew that Russia had plans to cut off communications between Britain and India and was looking to conquer Afghanistan to pursue that goal. This led to the British policies known as the "Great Game" to stop Russian expansion in Central Asia. However, historians with access to the Russian archives have concluded that Russia had no plans involving India, as the Russians repeatedly stated.[29]

In 1867, Fyodor Tyutchev, a Russian poet, diplomat and member of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery, introduced the actual term of "russophobia" in a letter to his daughter Anna Aksakova on 20 September 1867, where he applied it to a number of pro-Western Russian liberals who, pretending that they were merely following their liberal principles, developed a negative attitude towards their own country and always stood on a pro-Western and anti-Russian position, regardless of any changes in the Russian society and having a blind eye on any violations of these principles in the West, "violations in the sphere of justice, morality, and even civilization". He put the emphasis on the irrationality of this sentiment.[30] Tyuchev saw Western anti-Russian sentiment as the result of misunderstanding caused by civilizational differences between East and West.[31] Being an adherent of Pan-Slavism, he believed that the historical mission of Slavic peoples was to be united in a Pan-Slavic and Orthodox Christian Russian Empire to preserve their Slavic identity and avoid cultural assimilation; in his lyrics Poland, a Slavic yet Catholic country, was poetically referred to as Judas among the Slavs.[32] The term returned into political dictionaries of the Soviet Union only in the middle 1930s. Further works by Russian academics, such as Igor Shafarevich's Russophobia[33] or the treaty from the 1980s attributed the spread of russophobia to Zionists.[13]

In 1843 the Marquis de Custine published his hugely successful 1800-page, four-volume travelogue La Russie en 1839. Custine's scathing narrative reran what were by now clichés which presented Russia as a place where "the veneer of European civilization was too thin to be credible". Such was its huge success that several official and pirated editions quickly followed, as well as condensed versions and translations in German, Dutch and English. By 1846 approximately 200 thousand copies had been sold.[34]

The influential British economist John Maynard Keynes wrote controversially on Russia, that the oppression in the country, rooted in the Red Revolution, perhaps was "the fruit of some beastliness in the Russian nature", also attributing "cruelty and stupidity" to tyranny in both the "Old Russia" (tsarist) and "New Russia" (Soviet).[35]

Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, in Das Reich, explained Russian resistance in terms of a stubborn but bestial soul.[36] Russians were termed "Asiatic"[37] and the Red Army as "Asiatic Hordes".[38]

In the 1930s and 1940s, Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party viewed the Soviet Union as populated by Slavs ruled by "Jewish Bolshevik" masters.[39]

Hitler stated in Mein Kampf his belief that the Russian state was the work of German elements in the state and not of the Slavs:

Here Fate itself seems desirous of giving us a sign. By handing Russia to Bolshevism, it robbed the Russian nation of that intelligentsia which previously brought about and guaranteed its existence as a state. For the organization of a Russian state formation was not the result of the political abilities of the Slavs in Russia, but only a wonderful example of the state-forming efficacity of the German element in an inferior race.[40]

A secret Nazi plan, the Generalplan Ost called for the enslavement, expulsion or extermination of most Slavic peoples in Europe. Approximately 2.8 million Soviet POWs died of starvation, mistreatment, or executions in just eight months of 1941–42.[41]

"Need, hunger, lack of comfort have been the Russians' lot for centuries. No false compassion, as their stomachs are perfectly extendible. Don't try to impose the German standards and to change their style of life. Their only wish is to be ruled by the Germans. [...] Help yourselves, and may God help you!"

— "12 precepts for the German officer in the East", 1941[42]

On July 13, 1941, three weeks after the invasion of the Soviet Union, Nazi SS leader Heinrich Himmler told the group of Waffen SS men:

This is an ideological battle and a struggle of races. Here in this struggle stands National Socialism: an ideology based on the value of our Germanic, Nordic blood. ... On the other side stands a population of 180 million, a mixture of races, whose very names are unpronounceable, and whose physique is such that one can shoot them down without pity and compassion. These animals, that torture and ill-treat every prisoner from our side, every wounded man that they come across and do not treat them the way decent soldiers would, you will see for yourself. These people have been welded by the Jews into one religion, one ideology, that is called Bolshevism... When you, my men, fight over there in the East, you are carrying on the same struggle, against the same subhumanity, the same inferior races, that at one time appeared under the name of Huns, another time— 1000 years ago at the time of King Henry and Otto I— under the name of Magyars, another time under the name of Tartars, and still another time under the name of Genghis Khan and the Mongols. Today they appear as Russians under the political banner of Bolshevism.[43]

Heinrich Himmler's speech at Posen on October 4, 1943:

What happens to a Russian, to a Czech, does not interest me in the slightest. What the nations can offer in good blood of our type, we will take, if necessary by kidnapping their children and raising them with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our culture; otherwise, it is of no interest to me. Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interest me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be rough and heartless when it is not necessary, that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals.[44]

Post-Soviet distrust of Russia and Russians is attributable to backlash against the historical memory of Russification pursued by Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, and backlash against modern policies of the Russian government.[45]

In 2007, Professor of Politics and Political Economy Vlad Sobell believed that "Russophobic sentiment" in the West reflected the West's failure to adapt and change its historical attitude towards Russia, even as Russia had (in his view) abandoned past ideology for pragmatism, successfully driving its economic revival. With the West victorious over totalitarianism, Russia served to perpetuate the role of a needed adversary owing to its "unashamed continuity with the communist Soviet Union."[46][unreliable source?]

By country[edit]

Within Russia[edit]

Northern Caucasus[edit]

In a report by the Jamestown Foundation, dealing with the topic of the (extremely positive according to the report) reception of American Republican senator John McCain's statements about Russia's "double standards in the Caucasus" (referring to how Russia recognized South Ossetia but would not let Chechnya go), one Chechen stated that Chechnya "cannot exist within the borders of Russia because every 50 years... Russia kills us Chechens".[47]

Journalist Fatima Tlisova released an article in 2009 discussing the frequent occurrences of Russian Orthodox crosses being sawed off buildings and thrown off mountains in Circassia, due to the cross being associated with the people who initiated the mass expulsions of Circassians.[48]

In April 2015, Chechnya's leader Ramzan Kadyrov ordered Chechen security forces to “shoot to kill” if they encountered police officers from other parts of Russia on the territory of the Chechen Republic.[49][50]

Former Soviet Union[edit]

Armenia[edit]

Anti-Putin protest in Yerevan, 2 December 2013

According to a July 2007 poll, only 2% of Armenians see Russia as a threat, as opposed to 88% who view Russia as Armenia's partner.[51] According to a 2018 poll, 84% of respondents saw Russia as a political partner of Armenia and 6% a threat, while 76% saw it as an economic partner, and 7 as a threat.[52] According to Manvel Sargsyan, the Director of the Armenian Center of National and Strategic Research, "There are no special anti-Russian sentiments in Armenia."[53] Armenia's first president Levon Ter-Petrosyan stated in 2013 that anti-Russian sentiment "has never existed and still does not exist" in Armenia, except "some marginal elements and some individuals with anti-Russian sentiment."[54] During the dissolution of the Soviet Union and rise of nationalism in the Soviet republics and Eastern bloc countries, Armenian nationalists were among the few that did not "interpret Russia as their most significant threat."[55] Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian stated in 2001 that "Anti-Soviet sentiment did not mean anti-Russian in Armenia's case."[56]

On several occasions, however, anti-Russian sentiment has been expressed in Armenia, particularly in response to real or perceived anti-Armenian actions by Russia. In June 1903, Nicholas II issued a decree ordering the confiscation of all Armenian Church properties (including church-run schools) and its transfer to the Russian Interior Ministry. The decision was perceived by Armenians to be an effort of Russification and it met widespread popular resistance by the Russian Armenian population and led by the Dashnak and Hunchak parties. This included attacks on Russian authorities in attempts to prevent the confiscation. The decree being eventually canceled in 1905.[57] In more recent times, in July 1988, during the Karabakh movement, the killing of an Armenian man and the injury of tens of others by the Soviet army in a violent clash at Zvartnots Airport near Yerevan sparked anti-Russian and anti-Soviet sentiment in the Armenian public.[58] An anti-Russian wave occurred following the mass murder of an Armenian family of 7 in Gyumri by a Russian serviceman stationed at the Russian base there.[59][60] The sale of weaponry to Azerbaijan by Russia (worth some $4 billion) has caused some anti-Russian sentiments within Armenia. In April 2016 hundreds of protesters demonstrated near the Russian embassy in Yerevan to demand Russian to stop weapons sales to Azerbaijan and "fulfill its obligations as a strategic ally."[61][62]

Azerbaijan[edit]

In Azerbaijani society, Russians are perceived mostly[specify] as invaders that have controlled Azerbaijan for almost 200 years with a two-year halfway break. For current generations, Russians are seen as direct and indirect perpetrators of the two most terrible events which have occurred in Azerbaijan's modern history.[63] One is the Black January (when Soviet soldiers entered Baku to suppress the independence movement and killed over 100 people in 1990);[64] the other is the Khojali massacre during the Karabakh War.[citation needed]

Georgia[edit]

According to a 2012 poll, 35% of Georgians perceive Russia as Georgia's biggest enemy, while the percentage was significantly higher in 2011, at 51%.[65] In a February 2013 poll, 63% of Georgians said Russia is Georgia's biggest political and economic threat as opposed to 35% of those who looked at Russia as the most important partner for Georgia.[66] The main reason behind this is due to long historical grievances dated back at 1990s, when Russia supported the independence of Abkhazia, causing the Abkhaz–Georgian conflict and later war with Russia in 2008.[67]

Estonia[edit]

According to veteran German author, journalist and Russia-correspondent Gabriele Krone-Schmalz, there is deep disapproval of everything Russian in Estonia.[68] A poll conducted by Gallup International suggested that 34% Estonians have a positive attitude towards Russia, but it is supposed that survey results were likely impacted by a large ethnic Russian minority in country.[15] However, in a 2012 poll only 3% of the Russian minority in Estonia reported that they had experienced a racially motivated hate crime (as compared to an average of 10% among ethnic minorities and immigrants in EU).[20]

According to Estonian philosopher Jaan Kaplinski, the birth of anti-Russian sentiment in Estonia dates back to 1940, as there was little or none during the czarist and first independence period, when anti-German sentiment predominated. Kaplinski states the imposition of Soviet rule under Joseph Stalin in 1940 and subsequent actions by Soviet authorities led to the replacement of anti-German sentiment with anti-Russian sentiment within just one year, and characterized it as "one of the greatest achievements of the Soviet authorities".[69] Kaplinski supposes that anti-Russian sentiment could disappear as quickly as anti-German sentiment did in 1940, however he believes the prevailing sentiment in Estonia is sustained by Estonia's politicians who employ "the use of anti-Russian sentiments in political combat," together with the "tendentious attitude of the [Estonian] media."[69] Kaplinski says that a "rigid East-West attitude is to be found to some degree in Estonia when it comes to Russia, in the form that everything good comes from the West and everything bad from the East";[69] this attitude, in Kaplinski's view, "probably does not date back further than 1940 and presumably originates from Nazi propaganda."[69]

Latvia[edit]

Ever since Latvia regained its independence in 1991 various Russian officials, journalists, academics and pro-Russian activists have criticised Latvia for its Latvian language law and Latvian nationality law and repeatedly accused it of "ethnic discrimination against Russians",[70] "anti-Russian sentiment"[71][72] and "Russophobia".[73][74][75] In 1993 Boris Yeltsin, President of Russian Federation and Andrei Kozyrev, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation, declared that Latvia is preparing for an ethnic cleansing.[76] However, contrary to Yeltsin's and Kozyrev's claims, not a single Russian has ever been killed for political, nationalistic or racist reasons in Latvia since it regained its independence.[77][78][79]

In a 2004 research titled "Ethnic tolerance and integration of the Latvian society" conducted by the Baltic Institute of Social Sciences Latvian respondents on average rated their relations with Russians 7.8 out of 10, whereas non-Latvian respondents rated their relations with Latvians 8.4 out of 10. Both respondent groups believed the relations between them were satisfactory, had not changed in the last 5 years and were to either remain the same or improve in the next 5 years. Respondents did mention some conflicts on an ethnic basis, but all of them were classified as psycholinguistic, i.e., verbal confrontations. Most or 66% of non-Russian respondents would also support their son or daughter marrying a person of Russian ethnicity.[80] Furthermore, in a 2012 poll, only 2% of the Russian minority in Latvia reported that they had experienced a 'racially' motivated hate crime (as compared to an average of 10% among immigrants and minorities in EU).[20]

On the other hand, results of a yearly poll carried out by the research agency "SKDS" showed that the population of Latvia was more split on its attitude towards the Russian Federation. In 2008 47% percent of respondents had a more positive or positive view of Russia, while 33% had a more negative or negative one, but the rest (20%) found hard to define their view. It reached a high in 2010 when 64% percent of respondents felt more positive or positive towards Russia, in comparison with the 25 percent that felt more negative or negative. In 2015, following the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, however, it reached the lowest level since 2008 and for the first time the people with a more negative or negative attitude towards Russia (46%) surpassed people with a more positive or positive attitude (41%). In 2017 the respondents having a more positive or positive view of Russia slightly increased and reached 47%, but the respondents having a more negative or negative view of Russia decreased to 38%. The data wasn't differentiated between the respondent nationalities,[81] so it has to be noted that between 2008 and 2017 ethnic Russians made up more than a quarter of population of Latvia.

According to The Moscow Times, Latvia's fears of Russia are rooted in history, including conflicting views on whether Latvia and other Baltic States were occupied by the USSR or joined it voluntary, as well as the 1940–1941 June and 1949 March deportations that followed and most recently the annexation of Crimea that fueled a fear that Latvia could also be annexed by Russia.[82] While Russian-American journalist and broadcaster Vladimir Posner also believed the fact that many Russians in the Latvian SSR did not learn Latvian also contributed to accumulation of an "anti-Russian sentiment".[72]

On a political level, Russians in Latvia do have sometimes been targeted by an anti-Russian rhetoric from some of the more radical members of both the mainstream and radical right parties in Latvia. In November 2010 correspondence from 2009 between Ģirts Valdis Kristovskis, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Latvia, and Latvian American doctor and former member of the Civic Union, Aivars Slucis was released by journalist Lato Lapsa. In one of the letters, Slucis complained of being unable to return and work in Latvia, because he "would not be able to treat Russian in the same way as Latvians" to which Kristovskis allegedly responded, "I agree with your evaluation of the situation."[83]

Lithuania[edit]

For Lithuanians[vague], Russia has never stopped their desire to consolidate power over the Baltics, which Lithuania is one of them, and feared Russia would plan for an eventual invasion against Lithuania like it did to Crimea.[84] There are also concerns over Russia's increasing military deployment, such as in Kaliningrad, an exclave of Russia bordering Lithuania.[85][86]

Moldova[edit]

Ever since the independence of Moldova, Russia has been repeatedly accused by many Moldovans, whom mostly of ethnic Romanians and Ukrainians[citation needed], for meddling in Moldovan politics,[87] notably from Andrian Candu, a Moldovan senator.[88] On the other side, Russia's involvement on the pro-Russian separatists in Transnistria further strained the relations between Russia and Moldova, and Prime Minister of Moldova Pavel Filip has demanded Russia to quit the region.[89]

In 2018, the Parliament of Moldova “unanimously” adopted a declaration condemning the attacks coming from the Russian Federation upon the national informational security and the abusive meddling in political activity in the Republic.[90]

Ukraine[edit]

2007 anti-swearing poster in Lviv, Ukraine, issued by the Ukrainian nationalist political party Svoboda.[91][92] Ukrainian text reads: "Remember! Swearing turns you into a Moskal."

In a poll held by Kiev International Institute of Sociology in May 2009 in Ukraine, 96% of respondents were positive about Russians as an ethnic group, 93% respected the Russian Federation and 76% respected the Russian establishment.[93]

According to the statistics released on October 21, 2010 by the Institute of Sociology of National Academy of Science of Ukraine, positive attitude towards Russians have been decreasing since 1994. In response to a question gauging tolerance of Russians, 15% of Western Ukrainians responded positively. In Central Ukraine, 30% responded positively (from 60% in 1994); 60% responded positively in Southern Ukraine (from 70% in 1994); and 64% responded positively in Eastern Ukraine (from 75% in 1994). Furthermore, 6-7% of Western Ukrainians would banish Russians entirely from Ukraine, and 7-8% in Central Ukraine responded similarly. This level of sentiment was not found in Southern or Eastern Ukraine.[94]

The right-wing political party "Svoboda",[91][92][95] has invoked radical Russophobic rhetoric[96] and has electoral support enough to garner majority support in local councils,[97] as seen in the Ternopil regional council in Western Ukraine.[98] Analysts explained Svoboda’s victory in Eastern Galicia during the 2010 Ukrainian local elections as a result of the policies of the Azarov Government who were seen as too pro-Russian by the voters of "Svoboda".[99][100] According to Andreas Umland, Senior Lecturer in Political Science at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy,[101] Svoboda's increasing exposure in the Ukrainian media has contributed to these successes.[102] According to British academic Taras Kuzio the presidency of Viktor Yanukovich (2010–2014) fabricated this exposure in order to discredit the opposition.[103]

Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of Svoboda, whose members held senior positions in the short-lived First Yatsenyuk government, urged his party to fight "the Moscow-Jewish mafia" ruling Ukraine.[104] For these remarks Tyahnybok was expelled from the Our Ukraine parliamentary faction in July 2004.[105] Former Right Sector's leader for West Ukraine, Oleksandr Muzychko (who died violently in March 2014[106]), has talked about fighting "communists, Jews and Russians for as long as blood flows in my veins."[107]

In April 2017 Sociological group "RATING" public opinion survey 57% expressed a very cold or cold attitude toward Russia, 17% expressed a very warm or warm attitude.[108]

Belarus[edit]

According to Chairman of Vitsebsk-based public association "Russian House" Andrey Herashchanka, following Euromaidan in Ukraine, tensions between Belarusians and Russia increased due to Belarusian population's majority support for Ukraine against Russia.[109][unreliable source?] While Lukashenko's regime continues to maintain tie with Russia and even imprisoning those who criticize the Government in some Russophobic accusations.[110]

Former Eastern Bloc[edit]

Czech Republic[edit]

A caricature of a Russian traditional matryoshka doll as a negative symbol of communism; Prague, Czech Republic

Czech people themselves tend to be[specify] distrustful of Russia due to the 1968 invasion led by the Soviet Union, and tend to[specify] have a negative opinion of Russians.[111][112] Russia remains continuously among the most negatively perceived countries among Czechs in polls conducted since 1991, and just 26% of Czechs responded that they have a positive opinion about Russia in November 2016.[113]

Poland[edit]

According to a 2013 BBC World Service poll, 19% of Poles viewed Russia's influence positively, with 49% expressing a negative view.[114]

According to Boris Makarenko, deputy director of the Moscow-based think tank Center for Political Technologies, much of the modern anti-Russian feelings in Poland is caused by grievances of the past.[115] One contentious issue is the massacre of 22,000 Polish officers, priests and intellectuals in Katyn Forest in 1940, and deportation of around 250,000 mostly Polish civilians and others including soldiers to Siberia and Kazakhstan where many, around 100,000 died, even though the Russian government has officially acknowledged and apologized for the atrocity.[116]

In 2005, The New York Times reported after the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that "relations between the nations are as bad as they have been since the collapse of the Soviet bloc in 1989."[117]

Jakub Boratyński, the director of international programs at the independent Polish think tank Stefan Batory Foundation, said in 2005 that anti-Russian feelings have substantially decreased since Poland joined the EU and NATO, and that Poles feel more secure than before, but he also admitted that many people in Poland still look suspiciously at Russian foreign-policy moves and are afraid Russia is seeking to "recreate an empire in a different form."[115]

In 2015, two Polish experts, Jolanta Darczewska and Piotr Żochowski, criticized Russia's aggressive behavior following Euromaidan in neighboring Ukraine, saying it was used to define “the zone of the Russian Empire’s domination” as well as to present a “vision of a distinct ‘Russian world’ constructed in opposition to the consumerist, ‘decaying’ West,” two themes that continue to echo to the present day and warned Russia would only end up with their own destruction, further leading to higher tensions between two countries.[118] In 2017, Poland was accused by Russia for "attempting to impose its own version of history" after Moscow was not allowed to join an international effort to renovate a World War II museum in Poland[119] and destroyed monument honoring Soviet soldiers fallen in the war.[120] Tensions between the two run high when in 2018, Ukrainian officials discovered two pro-Russian and pro-Yanukovych loyalists blew up a cemetery in Lviv as an anti-Polish acts, leading to angers among Polish population over Russia.[121]

Romania[edit]

Anti-Russian sentiment dates back to the conflict between the Russian and Ottoman empires in the 18th and early 19th centuries and the ceding of part of the Moldavian principality to Russia by the Ottoman Empire in 1812 after its de facto annexation, and to the annexations during World War II and after by the Soviet Union of Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia and the policies of ethnic cleansing, Russification and deportations that have taken place in those territories against ethnic Romanians. Following WWII, Romania, an ally of Nazi Germany, was occupied by Soviet forces. Soviet dominance over the Romanian economy was manifested through the so-called Sovroms, exacting a tremendous economic toll ostensibly as war-time reparations.[122][123][124][125][126]

Albania[edit]

A majority of Albanians perceived Russia as a threat due to Russia's blockade of Kosovo's independence recognition,[127] as well as economic combat and sanctions by Russia against Albania.[128]

Bulgaria[edit]

In 2017, Bulgarian national security named Russia as a direct threat for Bulgaria's security.[129]

Hungary[edit]

During the Hungarian Revolution of 1848, Hungarian revolutionary force almost defeated Austria until Russian Empire came to aid the Austrians and suppress the Hungarians in blood.[130] This had left a huge scar on the relations between Hungary and Russia and strained their relations. Hungary and Russia later fought against each other in both two World Wars, only saw the aftermath World War II as Hungary turned into a Soviet puppet. Hungarians once again rose up at 1956 against the Soviet-based puppet. In turn, Soviet Union deployed troops and tanks suppressing the revolution once again very bloody, leading a huge pain among Hungarian population and stemmed strong anti-Russian sentiment in the country.[131][not in citation given]

In the modern days, although anti-Russian sentiment has no longer played a significant role, fear of Russian militarism and expansionism remain. In 2016, Russian state media smeared the memoir of the Hungarian Revolution of 1956, mocking it as a product of the United States and NATO, sparking criticisms against Russia among Hungarian population.[132]

Western world[edit]

Finland[edit]

In Finland, anti-Russian sentiment has been studied since the 1970s. The history of anti-Russian sentiment has two main theories. One of them claims that Finns and Russians have been archenemies throughout history. The position is considered to have been dominated at least the 1700s since the days of the Greater Wrath, when the Russians "occupied Finland and raped it." This view largely assumes that through the centuries, "Russia is a violent slayer and Finland is an innocent, virginal victim".[133] In the 1920s and 1930s this anti-Russian and anti-Communism propaganda had a fertile ground.[134] Failed Russian actions to terminate Finnish autonomy and cultural uniqueness (1899–1905 and 1908–1917) contributed greatly to both the anti-Russian feelings in Finland. The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, which granted Finland to the Soviet Union, was followed by the attack of the Soviet Union against Finland during the Winter War and Soviet annexation of large parts of Finland. This caused high casualties among the Finns and 11% of the total population had to leave their homes, later causing great bitterness, and has endured as the Karelian question in Finnish politics.[citation needed]

Another theory considers anti-Russian sentiment as being born in Finland at the time of civil war 1917–1918, and the anti-Russian political and ideological White Finland created a confrontation which deliberately blew and spread the sentiment. Anti-Russian sentiment was created against the external threat of the Soviet Union and it was considered almost a national duty in the 1920s and 1930s.[135] During World War II, Finns organized internment camps in the occupied East Karelia where ethnic segregation between 'relatives' (Finnic population) and 'non-relatives' (other, primarily Russian population) took place which has been attributed to anti-Russian sentiment.[citation needed]

According to polls in 2004, 62% of Finnish citizens had a negative view of Russia.[15] Deportation of Ingrian Finns, indigenous to St. Petersburg, Ingria, and other Soviet repressions against its Finnish minorities have contributed to negative views of Russia. In a 2012 poll, 12% of Russian immigrants in Finland reported that they had experienced a racially motivated hate crime (as compared to an average of 10% of immigrants in the EU).[20]

Sweden[edit]

Dra åt helvete ("Go to hell") in a Swedish university students' book of drinking songs printed 2007, written by a Finnish student in remembrance of Nikolay Bobrikov. Translation on description page.

The Swedish words russofob (Russophobe) and russofobi (Russophobia) were first recorded in 1877 and 1904 respectively and its more frequent synonym rysskräck (fear of Russia or Russians) in 1907. Older synonyms were rysshat (hatred of Russia or Russians) from 1846 and ryssantipati (antipathy against Russia or Russians) from 1882.[136]

The Russian state is said to have been organized in the 9th century AD at Novgorod by Rurik, supposedly coming from Sweden. In the 13th century, Stockholm was founded to stop foreign navies from invading lake Mälaren. Both events are signs that hostile naval missions across the Baltic Sea go a long way back, temporarily ending with the peace treaty of Nöteborg 1323 between Sweden and the Novgorod Republic (which later became Russia), soon to be broken by another Catholic Swedish crusade into Greek-orthodox Novgorod. Russia has been described as Sweden's "archenemy" (a title also given to Denmark). The two countries have often been at war, most intensively during the Great Northern War (1700–1721) and the Finnish War (1808–1809), when Sweden lost that third of its territory to Russia that now is Finland. Sweden defeated a Russian army in the Battle of Narva (1700), but was defeated by Russia in the Battle of Poltava 1709. In 1719 Russian troops burnt most Swedish cities and industrial communities along the Baltic sea coast to the ground (from Norrköping up to Piteå in the north) in what came to be called "Rysshärjningarna" (the Russian ravages, a term first recorded in 1730[136]). "The Russians are coming" (ryssen kommer) is a traditional Swedish warning call.[137] After the death of king Charles XII in 1718 and the peace in 1721, Swedish politics was dominated by a peace-minded parliament, with a more aggressive opposition (Hats and Caps). When Swedish officer Malcolm Sinclair was murdered in 1739 by two Russian officers, the anti-Russian ballad Sinclairsvisan by Anders Odel became very popular.[138][139]

After 1809, there have been no more wars between Russia and Sweden, partly due to Swedish neutrality and nonalignment foreign policy since then. Peaceful relationships and the Russian capital being Saint Petersburg, many Swedish companies ran large businesses in Imperial Russia, including Branobel and Ericsson. Many poets still grieved the loss of Finland and called for a military revenge,[140] ideas that were refueled by the Crimean War in the 1850s.[141] With the increasing cultural exchange between neighboring countries (Scandinavism) and the nationalist revival in Finland (through Johan Ludvig Runeberg and Elias Lönnrot), contempt with the attempts of Russification of Finland spread to Sweden. Before World War I, traveling Russian saw filers were suspected of espionage by Swedish proponents of increased military spending. After the Russian Revolution in the spring of 1917 and the abdication of the Tsar, great hope was vested in the new provisional government, only to be replaced with despair after the so-called October Revolution. Old anti-Russian sentiments were compounded by a fresh element of anti-communism, to last for the duration of the existence of the Soviet Union. Many Swedes voluntarily joined the Finnish side in the Winter War between Finland and Soviet Union 1939–1940. When the Soviet state was finally dissolved in 1991, anti-communism became less relevant in terms of power politics and for some time, few seemed to recall the fear of its predecessor.[citation needed]

Thus, in statements made by Swedish politicians, the Swedish sentiments against the Russian government have always been about fear of military invasion, which now seemed to be gone for the foreseeable future, and also about human rights and democracy issues. Only 31% of Swedes stated that they liked Russia in 2011, and 23% in 2012, and only 10% have confidence in Russian elections.[17]

In June 2014, political scientist Sergey Markov complained about Russophobia in Sweden and Finland, comparing it to antisemitism. "Would you want to be part of starting a Third World War? Antisemitism started the Second World War, Russophobia could start a third.", he commented.[142] The retired Swedish history professor and often cited expert on Russia Kristian Gerner said he was "almost shocked" by Markov's claim, and described his worldview as "nearly paranoid".[143][144]

France[edit]

Anti-Russian sentiment was common in France after the French defeat by the Russians in the 1812 War.[145]

New Zealand[edit]

The history of early anti-Russian sentiment in New Zealand was analyzed in Glynn Barratt's book Russophobia in New Zealand, 1838-1908,[146] expanded to cover the period up to 1939 in an article by Tony Wilson.[147]

According to Wilson, negative attitude towards the Russian Empire had no roots in the country itself, but was fueled by attitude of the British Empire, at a time when New Zealand was still a British colony. It was aggravated by lack of information about Russia and contacts with it due to the mutual remoteness. Various wars involving the Russian Empire fueled the "Russian scare". Additional negative attitude was brought by Jewish immigration after Anti-Jewish pogroms in the Russian Empire. That immigration was halted as a combined result of Russophobia and anti-Semitism. As of 1916, there were 1242 settlers of Russian origin in the country, including 169 Jews. During World War I anti-Russian sentiment was temporarily supplanted by anti-German sentiment for evident reasons; however, soon after the Russian Revolution of 1917, the fear of Marxism and Bolshevism revived Russophobia in the form of "Red Scare". Notably, local Russians had no issues with Russophobia. By late 1920s pragmatism moderated anti-Russian sentiment in official circles, especially during the Great Depression. Sympathetic views were propagated by visitors to the Soviet Union, such as George Bernard Shaw, impressed by Soviet propaganda.[147]

United Kingdom[edit]

In the United Kingdom, anti-Russian sentiment arose during conflicts including the Crimean War[148] and the Anglo-Afghan wars, which were seen as representing Russia's territorial ambitions regarding the British empire in India. This competition for spheres of influence and colonies (see e.g. The Great Game and Berlin Congress) fueled anti-Russian sentiment in Britain. British propaganda at the time took up the theme of Russians as uncultured Asiatic barbarians.[149] The American professor Jimmie E. Cain Jr has stated that these views were then exported to other parts of the world and were reflected in the literature of late the 19th and early 20th centuries.[148]

United States[edit]

During the Cold War years, there was frequent confusion and conflation of terms "Russians" and "Communists"/"Soviets"; in 1973, a group of Russian immigrants in the US founded the Congress of Russian Americans with the purpose of drawing a clear distinction between Russian national identity and Soviet ideology, and preventing the formation of anti-Russian sentiment on the basis of Western anti-communism.[150] Members of the Congress see the conflation itself as Russophobic, believing "Russians were the first and foremost victim of international Communism".[151]

According to a 2013 Poll, 59% of Americans had a negative view of Russia, 23% had a favorable opinion, and 18% were uncertain.[152] According to a survey by Pew Research Center, negative attitudes towards Russia in the United States rose from 43% to 72% from 2013 to 2014.[18]

Recent events such as the Anti-Magnitsky bill,[153] the Boston Marathon bombings[154] Russia's actions following the Ukrainian crisis,[18] the Syrian Civil War, the allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 United States elections and the allegations of collusion between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and Russia[155][156] are deemed to have caused a rising negative impression about Russia in the United States.

In December 2016, New York Daily News columnist Gersh Kuntzman compared the assassination of the Russian Ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, to the assassination of German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by Jewish student Herschel Grynszpan, saying "justice has been served."[157]

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept wrote in February 2017 that the "East Coast newsmagazines" are "feeding Democrats the often xenophobic, hysterical Russophobia for which they have a seemingly insatiable craving."[158]

In May 2017, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said on NBC's Meet The Press that Russians were "almost genetically driven" to act deviously.[159][160] Freelance journalist Michael Sainato criticized the remark as xenophobic.[161]

Hollywood[edit]

In a 2014 news story, Fox News reported, "Russians may also be unimpressed with Hollywood’s apparent negative stereotyping of Russians in movies. "The Avengers" featured a ruthless former KGB agent, "Iron Man 2" centers on a rogue Russian scientist with a vendetta, and action thriller "Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit" saw Kenneth Branagh play an archetypal Russian bad guy, just to name a few."[162]

Rest of the world[edit]

South Korea[edit]

Due to the history of the Cold War and the Korean War, where the Soviet Union and South Korea fought on opposing sides, relations between Russia and South Korea have been almost nonexistent until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. Even so, opinion about Russia and Russians in South Korea remains low, particularly due to Russia's support for North Korea.[163]

Venezuela[edit]

Anti-Russian sentiment has been increasing in Venezuela due to Russia's support to Hugo Chávez and Nicolás Maduro during the Venezuelan crisis, which the opposition, strongly anti-Russian, are hostile toward Russia.[164]

China[edit]

China and Russia had been at war in the past. Russia and China both had historical expansions, which later led to war between two nations. The Russians later invaded Central Asia and drove the Chinese out of Outer Manchuria which had been annexed by Russia and eventually, belongs to Russia today. Russia and China even later went to some fierce border clash during the communist era of Soviet Union, and border conflict which almost resulted by using a nuclear bomb from the Soviet Union against China.[165]

Iran[edit]

In the first half of the 19th century, Russia annexed large parts of Iranian territory in the Caucasus; by the Treaty of Gulistan (1813) and Treaty of Turkmenchay (1828), Iran was forced to cede what is present-day Azerbaijan, Armenia, eastern Georgia and southern Dagestan to Russia. These territories had made part of the concept of Iran for centuries.[166] As a result of the subsequent rampant anti-Russian sentiment, on 11 February 1829, an angry mob stormed the Russian embassy in Tehran and slaughtered almost everyone inside. Among those killed in the massacre was the newly appointed Russian ambassador to Iran, Aleksander Griboyedov, a celebrated playwright. Griboyedov had previously played an active role in negotiating the terms of the treaty of 1828.[167] Russia was seen as an invader who destroyed, forcefully converted and demolished Iranian heritages in occupied territories.[168]

During 20th century, Russia as USSR had involved in Azerbaijani and Kurdish separatist movements, making Russophobia grew rapidly in Iran. This remains high since despite recent Islamic Government tried to silence its dissidents over it.[169]

Due to Russia's support of the Iranian government, many protesters started chants of "Death to Russia" after the 2009 Presidential election.[170]

Turkey[edit]

According to a 2013 survey 73% of Turks look at Russia unfavorably against 16% with favorable views.[171]

Historically, Russia and Turkey fought a number of wars and had caused a great devastation for each nation. During the old Tsardom of Russia, the Ottomans often raided and attacked Russian villagers. With the transformation into Russian Empire, Russia started to expand and clashed heavily with the Turks; which Russia often won more than lost, and reduced the Ottoman Empire heavily. The series of wars had manifested the ideas among the Turks that Russia wanted to turn Turkey into a vassal state, leading to a high level of Russophobia in Turkey.[172] In the 20th century, anti-Russian sentiment in Turkey was so great that the Russians refused to allow a Turkish military attache to accompany their armies.[173] After the World War I, both Ottoman and Russian Empires collapsed, and two nations went on plagued by their own civil wars; during that time Soviet Russia (who would later become Soviet Union) supported Turkish Independence Movement led by Mustafa Kemal, leading to a warmer relations between two states, as newly established Turkish Republic maintained a formal tie with Soviet Union.[174] But their warm relations didn't last long; after the World War II, the Bosphorus crisis occurred at 1946 due to Joseph Stalin's demand for a complete Soviet control of the straits led to resurgence of Russophobia in Turkey.[175]

Anti-Russian sentiment started to increase again since 2011 following with the event of the Syrian Civil War. Russia supports the Government of Bashar al-Assad, whilst Turkey supports the Free Syrian Army and had many times announced their intentions to overthrow Assad, once again strained the relations.[176] Relations between two further went downhill after Russian jet shootdown by Turkish jet,[177] flaring that Russia wanted to invade Turkey over Assad's demand; and different interests in Syria. Turkish media have promoted Russophobic news about Russian ambitions on Syria, and this has been the turning point of remaining poor relations although two nations have tried to re-approach their differences. Turkish military operations in Syria against Russia and Assad-backed forces also damage the relations deeply.[178]

Japan[edit]

Most Japanese interaction with Russian individuals – besides in major cities such as Tokyo – happens with seamen and fishermen of the Russian fishing fleet, therefore Japanese people tend to carry the stereotypes associated with sailors over to Russians.[179][180] According to a 2012 Pew Global Attitudes Project survey, 72% of Japanese people view Russia unfavorably, compared with 22% who viewed it favorably, making Japan the most anti-Russian country surveyed.[181]

Afghanistan[edit]

Grievances against Russia in Afghanistan dated back from the Soviet Union's conquest of Afghanistan. Moscow's attempt to put Afghanistan under its communist influence bearing the name of Democratic Republic of Afghanistan fueled the anti-Russian resistance in Afghanistan led by Ahmad Shah Massoud. Today, Russia is still being seen among Afghans as perpetrator of what would be, the path of tragedy for Afghanistan.[182][183]

Business[edit]

In May and June 2006, Russian media cited discrimination against Russian companies as one possible reason why the contemplated merger between the Luxembourg-based steelmaker Arcelor and Russia's Severstal did not finalize. According to the Russian daily Izvestiya, those opposing the merger "exploited the 'Russian threat' myth during negotiations with shareholders and, apparently, found common ground with the Europeans",[184] while Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the State Duma observed that "recent events show that someone does not want to allow us to enter their markets."[185] On 27 July 2006, The New York Times quoted the analysts as saying that many Western investors still think that anything to do with Russia is "a little bit doubtful and dubious" while others look at Russia in "comic book terms, as mysterious and mafia-run."[186]

View of Russia in Western media[edit]

Some Russian and Western commentators express concern about a far too negative coverage of Russia in Western media (some Russians even describe this as a "war of information").[187][188] In April 2007, David Johnson, founder of the Johnson's Russia List, said in interview to the Moscow News: "I am sympathetic to the view that these days Putin and Russia are perhaps getting too dark a portrayal in most Western media. Or at least that critical views need to be supplemented with other kinds of information and analysis. An openness to different views is still warranted."[189]

In 1995, years before Vladimir Putin was elected to his first term, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported: "coverage of Russia and its president, Boris Yeltsin, was decidedly negative, even though national polls continue to find the public feeling positive toward Russia and largely uncritical of Yeltsin."[190]

In February 2007, the Russian creativity agency E-generator put together a "rating of Russophobia" of Western media, using for the research articles concerning a single theme—Russia's chairmanship of G8, translated into Russian by InoSmi.Ru. The score was composed for each edition, negative values granted for negative assessments of Russia, and positive values representing positive ones. The top in the rating were Newsday (−43, U.S.), Financial Times (−34, Great Britain), The Wall Street Journal (−34, U.S.), Le Monde (−30, France), while editions on the opposite side of the rating were Toronto Star (+27, Canada) and "The Conservative Voice"[191] (+26, U.S.).[192][193]

California-based international relations scholar Andrei Tsygankov has remarked that anti-Russian political rhetoric coming from Washington circles has received wide echo in American mainstream media, asserting that "Russophobia's revival is indicative of the fear shared by some U.S. and European politicians that their grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites may not succeed if Russia's economic and political recovery continues."[194]

In practice, anti-Russian political rhetoric usually puts emphasis on highlighting policies and practices of the Russian government that are criticised internally - corruption, abuse of law, censorship, violence and intervention in Ukraine. Western criticism in this aspect goes in line with Russian independent anti-government media such as (TV Rain, Novaya Gazeta, Ekho Moskvy, The Moscow Times) and opposition human rights activists (Memorial). In defence of this rhetoric, some sources critical of the Russian government claim that it is Russian state-owned media and administration who attempt to discredit the "neutral" criticism by generalizing it into indiscriminate accusations of the whole Russian population - or Russophobia.[13][195][196] Some have argued, however, that the Western media doesn't make enough distinction between Putin's government and Russia and the Russians, thus effectively vilifying the whole nation.[197][198]

Russian nationalist ideology[edit]

The issue of anti-Russian sentiment has become an indispensable part of contemporary Russian nationalist ideology.[13][199] Sociologist Anatoly Khazanov states that there's a national-patriotic movement which believes that there's a "clash of civilizations, a global struggle between the materialistic, individualistic, consumerist, cosmopolitan, corrupt, and decadent West led by the United States and the idealist, collectivist, morally and spiritually superior Eurasia led by Russia."[200] In their view, the United States want to break up Russia and turn it into a source of raw materials. The West being accused of Russophobia is a major part of their belief.[201]

See also[edit]

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Sources[edit]

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External links[edit]