International poll: Anti-Russian sentiment runs very strong in Finland
Only Kosovo has more negative attitude
An extensive poll conducted by Gallup International reveals that attitudes toward Russia are exceptionally negative in Finland. In Europe, the Finns' negative perception of Russia is exceeded only by residents of Kosovo.
The study, which focused on global attitudes toward the members of the G-8 group of industrialised countries, involved interviews with more than 50,000 people, including 621 Finns.
In other countries as well, Russia appeared to be the least popular G-8 country globally: only 31% of all respondents took a positive view of Russia. The United States was the second-least-popular, with just 40% of respondents indicating a positive view.
Nevertheless, the Finns’ anti-Russian sentiment was in a class of its own. Differences with other Western countries in Europe, and even with former Soviet satellites, were considerable.
In Finland 62% of respondents had a "very negative" or "fairly negative" view of Russia. Coming behind Finland were the Czech Republic and Switzerland, where the figure was 42%.
The only place in Europe where attitudes toward Russia were even more negative was Kosovo - 73%. Serbia is seen as a traditional enemy by Kosovo’s ethnic Albanians, and Russia has been Serbia’s supporter in recent conflicts.
Just nine percent of Finns say that they have a very positive or fairly positive attitude toward Russia. This was matched only by Turkey and Japan.
In the Baltic States, Lithuanians gave Russia the highest marks: 38% said that they had a positive attitude. In Latvia and Estonia the corresponding figures were 36 and 34%.
Estonia and especially Latvia have large Russian minorities, which is likely to affect the result.
In Europe’s Western countries an average 20% of respondents saw Russia in a positive light. The largest proportion of positive responses came from Iceland, Greece, and Britain.
Finns also had fairly negative views of the United States. Only two percent had a very positive view of the USA. An equally low figure came only from India and Argentina.
The Americans do only slightly better in France, where three percent said that they have a very positive view of the United States.
Very negative or fairly negative attitudes toward the USA were held by 56% of Finns. Negative attitudes were even more prevalent in Greece (63%), Switzerland (67%), and Norway (57%).
The survey suggests that Finns tend to take a slightly more wary attitude of other nations than people in most Western countries of Europe.
Of the countries listed in the survey, only Britain got more sympathy from the Finns than was the average for Western Europe.