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Linking Public Opinion and Foreign Policy in Russia


Empirical studies in democracies have revealed some degree of causal relationship between public opinion and foreign policy. A look at the relationship between the evolution of Russian foreign policy priorities, as evidenced in the Foreign Policy Concepts (2000, 2008, 2013 and 2016), and public opinion regarding foreign policy measured from 1997 to 2018 shows significant shifts in perceptions of the nation’s international image. The amity/enmity feelings towards others can be explained as responses to key international events, endorsing the thesis of a rational and reactive public. Overall, public opinion and the official policy line in Russia move in the same direction.
Keywords: foreign policy, foreign policy attitudes, Russia, United States, European Union, China