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Aid to Russia

A majority has expressed support for giving economic aid to Russia, though not for increasing it.

A modest majority of Americans have shown support for providing economic assistance to Russia. A January 1999 NBC/Wall Street Journal poll found 55% saying that the US should "participate with other countries to provide financial assistance to help stabilize Russia," while 33% said that it should not. [1]

However, Americans have not shown support for increasing the level of aid. In a June 2002 poll for the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, only 16% wanted to increase spending in aid to Russia. Combined with those who wanted to maintain current spending levels (46%), a total of 62% wanted to at least maintain current spending levels. Thirty-two percent wanted to either decrease current levels (17%) or stop aid altogether (15%). This represents somewhat more openness to aid for Russia than when last recorded by CCFR in 1998. At that time, 54% wanted to maintain or increase aid, while 38% wanted to cut or eliminate it. However, it is important to note that most of the increase came from a higher willingness to leave aid levels as is, not increase them. [2] Also, in March 1999 Gallup asked directly whether respondents would "favor or oppose the United States increasing economic aid to Russia," and just 43% said they would favor an increase, while 53% said they would not. [3]

Consistent with Americans' preferences to reduce the dominant role of the US and to have Europe take a bigger share of the burden of leadership, more Americans have expressed the view that Europe should take the lead in providing aid to Russia. In the October 1998 CCFR poll, 34% said "European countries should take the lead in providing assistance to Russia," while 17% said the US should take the lead. Thirty-eight percent felt that "Russia should solve its problems alone." [4]

[Note: For an in-depth analysis of attitudes about aid to Russia in the first half of the 1990s, see "Americans and Foreign Aid" (College Park, MD: Program on International Policy Attitudes, 1995). The study is available by calling PIPA at (202) 232-7500.]



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Russia - August 2008 (PDF)