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Russians and Americans Sense a New Cold War

April 20, 2022

The current conflict in Ukraine is described by some as an inflection point in world history, and perhaps the end of the post-Cold War era. Russian President Vladimir Putin increasingly seems to make foreign policy decisions designed to upend the US-European security order and dominate the countries he considers to be in Russia's orbit. At the same time, US President Joe Biden has pitted the NATO struggle with Russia as well as the US competition with China as contests between democracies and autocracies. A recent public opinion survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Center in Moscow shows that Russians and Americans view global divisions along Cold War lines. And in what may be the most alarming throwback to those days, large majorities in both countries fear an escalation to nuclear war.

Americans Support Ukraine--but Not with US Troops or a No-Fly Zone

April 15, 2022

A new poll reveals that Americans see Russia as a significant threat to US interests and support military and economic assistance to Ukraine.In response to Russia's aggression toward Ukraine, the United States and its allies have imposed sanctions on Russia that are striking in their scope and severity and represent a broad effort to impose serious economic costs on Russia for its invasion of Ukraine. For their part, a March 25-28 Chicago Council survey finds that Americans support all measures to help Ukraine and pressure Russia short of direct US involvement in a military conflict. And while the public views the broad sanctions imposed on Russia as generally effective at punishing, weakening, and deterring Russia from further aggression, they doubt that sanctions will be enough to persuade Moscow to withdraw troops from Ukraine—the key condition Americans identify as necessary for lifting sanctions.

Russian Public Accepts Putin's Spin on Ukraine Conflict

April 12, 2022

A new Chicago Council-Levada poll reveals the Russian public appears to be buying Putin's explanation for "military operation" in Ukraine.While the whole world seems to be watching the Russian "special military operation" in Ukraine, a new joint survey by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs and the Levada Center conducted March 24–30 shows that most people living in Russia are not following these events closely. Nevertheless, a majority of Russians say they support their country's military action—with just over half strongly backing it. For the most part, Russians think these actions are being taken to protect and defend fellow Russians and Russian speakers in Ukraine, to protect Russia itself, or to "denazify" Ukraine—storylines that have been amplified by the Russian government's media apparatus. But as the conflict drags on, it may become more difficult to sustain this support, especially as the casualty rates are uncovered and the economic repercussions of the Western sanctions begin to more seriously affect Russian households.