Some 59% of Russians believe the US is a threat to their country and of that number, 31% say a US invasion and occupation is possible. The latest opinions, courtesy of a Levada Center think tank poll of 1,600 adults, offer further evidence that relations between the two countries are at their iciest in 25 years. A poll back in 2007 found just 47% of Russians believed the US posed a threat. Of those concerned by the US this time around, 48% mentioned worries that the country would disrupt Russia's development, 40% said the country could take over the Russian economy, 36% feared they'd be subjected to American values and ideals, and 24% worried the US would alter Russia's political path, according to the Moscow Times.
The GlobalPost reports Russia's state media is likely to blame for the shift in sentiment, as it carefully crafts coverage of events like the Ukraine conflict to flatter the Kremlin at the expense of the West. Still, the feeling is shared here at home. A Gallup poll from February found 18% of Americans view Russia as the US' greatest enemy, compared to just 2% in 2013. Secretary of State John Kerry attempted to mask any unfriendliness during a visit to Russia yesterday, however. He and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov exchanged gifts of tomatoes, potatoes, a T-shift, and a leather portfolio before joining Vladimir Putin for local wine and "significant, serious" conversation about Syria and Ukraine, Kerry said, per the Wall Street Journal.