MOSCOW — Nearly one-in-six Russians see America as a country of "rampant crime and moral decay" while a similar number think Americans lack "human warmth," according to a new poll.
Respected state-run pollster VTsiOM found that 15 percent of 1,600 respondents agreed with those statements.
Both answers scored a mere 1 percent each in a similar survey conducted in 1990 on the eve of the fall of Communism. At that time, 35 percent of Russians polled saw the U.S. as a country with high living standards. Now, 12 percent do.
The American political establishment fares even worse. Nowadays, 3 percent of Russians feel that the White House is a friend, while 59 percent see it as an enemy. In 1990, 35 percent said the American government was friendly toward Russia and a mere 2 percent viewed it as hostile.
Another 20 percent said in 1990 that the U.S. was a place where success depended on personal effort. This year, only 7 percent said it was the prime trait they associated with the country.
U.S.-Russian relations peaked during Perestroika — the liberalizing movement associated with Mikhail Gorbachev that led to the dissolution of the Soviet Union — but have been going downhill since President Vladimir Putin stepped up U.S.-bashing rhetoric in the mid-2000s.
Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea region and its alleged involvement in the war in the east of the country set off an anti-American frenzy in state media. They also triggered talk of “Cold War 2.0.”