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‘Putin is no friend of Germany’ – study

The majority of Germans (64 %) does not consider Russia under Vladimir Putin an internationally credible partner. Only a minority of 18 % thinks German-Russian relations are good. The close interdependence of the Russian and German energy sector are seen critically by 55 % of the Germans. The good news: Russia under Putin may well have lost the approval of Germans, but not so the Russians. Their acceptance in Germany does not suffer from Russia’s image damaged mainly by Putin’s policies.

This is the result of a representative survey carried out by TNS Emnid on behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and its Polish partner, the Warsaw-based Institute of Public Affairs, in March 2016. The survey has, moreover, dealt with other current issues such as Russia’s engagement in Syria, the approval of Germans for sanctions against Russia and the establishment of permanent NATO bases in Poland and/or the Baltic States.

The most recent topic of debate in Germany has certainly been Russia’s role in the conflict in Syria. The Russian-Ukrainian conflict is still an issue, but coverage in the German media of the actual fighting in Donbas has been overshadowed over the last months by the slow pace of reforms and the changes of government due to, firstly, the resignation of the reform-oriented minister of economy, Lithuanian Avaras Abromavičius, and secondly, that of prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, which, in turn, led to minister of finance Natalya Yaresko’s also leaving office. The public, therefore, is less focused on Russia’s role in Ukraine than on Ukrainian internal affairs and challenges. A topic Germans have become much more aware of over recent months is the well-publicized so-called “hybrid war” led by Russia in Ukraine.


The full results of the study can be found here „Frayed partnership. German public opinion on Russia.“

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