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Russia in Europe: A Cold War in People's Minds?

The Ukraine conflict and the resulting sanctions are to blame for the ice-cold political climate between Russia and the EU – Germans, Russians and Poles agree on this. This has emerged from the representative survey "Russia in Europe: A Cold War in People's Minds?" conducted by Kantar Public on behalf of the Körber Foundation.

The survey focused on the question of whether Russia, on balance, belongs to Europe. In Russia, less than 50 percent of respondents believe this, while in Germany and Poland the figure is slightly over half. Respondents in all three countries named geographical location as the most important reason why Russia belongs to Europe.

In Germany – unlike in the other two countries – close economic ties also count as an important argument, only slightly ahead of geography, in favour of Russia's belonging to Europe. Common values and culture, on the other hand, seem to be of little relevance. "In Russia, awareness of a non-European identity is growing as a result of having a different history," says Gabriele Woidelko, head of the Körber Foundation's focus topic "Russia in Europe". "Only a critical dialogue on commonalities and differences can lead to a renewed rapprochement," she adds.

The Ukraine conflict and the sanctions associated with it are the cause of the current political conflict between Russia and the EU – all three countries agree on this. However, there is disagreement on how to end the crisis. While a clear majority of Germans and Poles wish to see a rapprochement between Russia and the EU, the Poles are clearly in favour of maintaining or tightening sanctions, and the Germans are divided on this issue.

"Three years after the annexation of the Crimea, the Ukraine conflict remains the greatest burden on Russian-European relations. The unequivocal desire for rapprochement is a clear signal to politicians that a solution to the conflict must be found soon," says Gabriele Woidelko.

Asked about who they would like to have closer bilateral relations with, the Germans and Russians rank each other second and third respectively. The Poles first and foremost want more cooperation with the USA and the United Kingdom, with Russia last but one.
All the survey results, which will be presented for the first time at the Körber conference "Russia in Europe" on 10 November in Hamburg, can be found here:

Survey "Russia in Europe: A Cold War in People's Minds?"
The results serve to update and supplement the study "Rapprochement or Isolation" commissioned in 2016.

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