The American Pew Research Center has conducted a survey across the world which asked citizens of various countries which leader they trusted more: Vladimir Putin or Donald Trump? The survey excluded the United States and Russia.
The results show that in the majority of countries surveyed, Putin is the clear winner.
Here’s the chart breaking down the results:
While one might except traditional American allies to have more trust in Trump and traditional Russian allies to have more trust in Putin, this was not always the case.
While Greece is technically a member of NATO and the EU, the people of Greece overwhelmingly trusted Putin in far more favourable numbers vis-a-vis Donald Trump. Greece has fraternal ties to Russia as a fellow Orthodox nation which has been on the same side of conflicts against Turkey as well as on the same side in both World Wars. By contrast the relationship between Greece and the EU has become openly hostile and Athens’ relationship with NATO has delivered little for Greece. President Putin’s recent visit to Greece was hailed as a success as the Russian leader proved to be highly popular among ordinary Greeks. Russia of course helped Greece to fight for her freedom from Turkish imperialism in the 1820s.
Other traditional US allies whose citizens trust the Russian President more than his American counterpart include Germany (prefers Putin by a spread of +14), France (+4), Japan (+4), (Italy +1).
Two of the most interesting putative US allies who strongly favour Vladimir Putin over Donald Trump include South Korea and Turkey.
South Koreans surveyed by Pew trusted Putin more than Trump with a difference of +10 points in the Russian President’s favour. This comes as the South Korean Foreign Minister plans a visit to Moscow next week. South Korea’s President furthermore claimed that he rejects any calls for renewed violence on the Korean peninsula, a position which puts Seoul closer to that of Moscow and China vis-a-vis the United States which still has not publicly taken military action off the table, in respect of North Korea.
In Turkey, people favoured Putin by a margin of +20. This is the same Turkey that fought wars with Russia for centuries, with most of the final wars being resounding victories for Russia which helped free much of Orthodox Christian Europe, allowing for the reconstituted sovereignty of countries like Serbia and Bulgaria.
Nevertheless, Turkey’s President Erdogan has begun a fully-fledged pivot towards Russia singing numerous trade agreements with Moscow, opting to purchase Russian defensive weapons rather than NATO built equivalents and working with Russia and Iran in the Astana Peace Process for Syria. Furthermore, Turkey has now abandoned support for anti-government fighters in Syria, a move which brings Ankara’s policies on Syria closer to that of its Astana partners.
Only one traditional Russian ally favoured Trump over Putin, but it is a significant one: India. While Prime Minister Narendra Modi still speaks warmly of his friendship with Russia and with President Putin in particular, India under Modi has been trying to extract a friendship with the US and its allies like Israel (which strongly favoured Trump over Putin) to use as supposed leaverage against Russia’s modern allies China and Pakistan.
As I wrote previously in The Duran about the issue,
“Modi seems to be a man guided by a lust for outsmarting the world. One often wonders if he is really only outsmarting himself. His anti-Muslim rhetoric which is now having violent consequences on the streets of India, combined by his public displays of political affection for both the United States and Israel is not in the interests of the Indian people, not even the Hindutva base he represents and riles up.
India’s future is with a combination of long time friends (Russia) and former adversaries (China and Pakistan). Her future never was in the west or its allies like Israel, although nothing is procluding India from trading with such countries minus the geo-political overtones that Modi tends to revel in and which countries like the US and Israel are all too willing and able to exploit. Nixon talked about being “suckered” by Indira Gandhi. By extrapolation, can we now say that Narendra Modi is suckering himself?”
The survey would indicate that at least some Indians are tending to see their country as a possible US ally rather than a traditional Soviet and Russian one, without realising the folly implicit in such assertions.
At the end of the day, the accuracy of these kinds of surveys is subjective, however the results from South Korea, Turkey and India do speak to real geo-political trends and even more importantly, very real geo-political desires.
The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of The Duran.