The level of trust in Russia and Putin in the world has collapsed to a historic low

More than eight in ten people in the world have a negative view of Russia and its leader – a level of rejection never before seen in Pew Research Center’s international polling. In the 24 countries surveyed, 82% of adults (median) have a negative view of Russia; only 15% view Russia favorably.

At the same time, 87% do not believe Vladimir Putin is capable of acting properly in international affairs.

Dislike has become almost total (85% or more) in Poland, Sweden, Spain, Japan, South Korea, Australia, the Netherlands, Germany, France, the United Kingdom and the United States. The numbers are also high, if not quite as high, in developing countries: in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil, 54%–68% distrust Putin, and in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa, 46%–57%; everywhere the figure has risen by 10% or more since 2019, when Pew last polled these countries (the pause in face-to-face interviews was due to the coronavirus pandemic).

The exceptions appear to be Indonesia and India, which has become a major buyer of Russian oil since the war began. The number of those who trust Putin in these countries has risen over the past four years from 36% to 43% and from 42% to 59% (although the number of those who do not trust Putin in India has also jumped from 13% to 30%).

No poll was conducted in China, whose leader Xi Jinping supports Putin, having agreed to a “borderless partnership” just before the war began.

Attitudes toward Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky are mixed, though generally much better than toward Putin. 39% have no confidence in Zelensky’s ability to do the right thing in international affairs, while 51% trust him (vs. just 11% for Putin). At the same time, even in India, Zelensky is not far behind Putin in terms of trust: 50% vs. 59%.

The Ukrainian leader is least trusted in Hungary (11%) and most trusted in Sweden (86%).

The assessments given to him generally coincide with the assessments of Western leaders. The foreign policy of US President Joe Biden is trusted by 54% of respondents, French President Emmanuel Macron – 50%, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz – 49%.

The poll was conducted from February 20 to May 22, 2023, with 30,861 participants from 24 countries.

Pew Research did not survey residents of the former Soviet republics, but even there, as a recent Gallup survey showed, attitudes toward Russia and Putin have deteriorated since the invasion of Ukraine. Approval of Russia’s leadership in 2022 has plummeted compared to 2021 in all 11 countries surveyed, while disapproval has risen sharply.

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