In modern international politics the term "Russophobia" is also used more specifically to describe clichés preserved from the times of the Cold War. Many prejudices, often introduced as elements of political war against the Soviet Union, are still observed in the discussions of the relations with Russia—whose leadership are seen as manipulating perceptions of Russia and its history by means of deliberate distortions and omissions in representing its Soviet past. The extent of Russophobia varies country by country and depends not only on the geography but also the fraction of the society. The intensity of Russophobia in various countries evolved throughout history, and relies on old stereotypes linking Russians to organized crime/mafia and other activities of this genre.
- 1 History
- 2 Attitudes and claims of attitudes towards Russia and Russians by country
- 3 Business
- 4 View of Russia in Western media
- 5 See also
- 6 Footnotes
- 7 References
- 8 External links
Dislike of Russians is sometimes seen as a backlash of Russification pursued by Imperial Russia and the Soviet Union, and backlash against modern policies of Russian government. However, Russophobia has a long history and already existed for many centuries before Russia became one of the major powers in Europe.
During the 19th century, the competition between Russia and Great Britain for the spheres of influence and colonies (see e.g. The Great Game and Berlin Congress) was possibly one reason for Russophobia in Great Britain. British propaganda of the time portrayed Russians as uncultured Asiatic barbarians. These views spread to other parts of the world and were reflected in the literature of late the 19th and early 20th centuries.
The Prometheism political strategy conceived by Polish chief of state Józef Piłsudski intended to weaken Tsarist Russia and later the Soviet Union. The Pan-Slavism movement included anti-Russian sentiment as a reaction to Russia's involvement on Austrian side during the Hungarian Revolution of 1848. Russia's involvement also resulted in the enmity of Austria-Hungary to Eastern orientation of many of its Slavic constituents in the second half of the 19th century. The elites saw Russia as a threat to Austro-Hungarian multi-ethnic empire. The public opinion became even more radicalized and Russophobic, as the common anti-Russian stereotypes fell onto a fertile ground.
The influential British economist John Maynard Keynes, a strong supporter of eugenics, wrote controversially on Russians, even in published works, claiming that there was an inherent "beastliness in the Russian nature” as well as "cruelty and stupidity".
In the 1930s, Adolf Hitler enhanced the Russophobe stereotypes with his racial theory of subhumans, in part to rationalize and justify the German invasion of the Soviet Union and the atrocities committed against its populace. The notion of Russian — and Slavs in general — as an "inferior race" was actively used in Nazi propaganda.
""Need, hunger, lack of comfort have been the Russians' lot for centuries. No false compassion, as their stomachs are perfectly extendible. Don't try to impose the German standards and to change their style of life. Their only wish is to be ruled by the Germans. <...> Help yourselves, and may God help you!" ("12 precepts for the German officer in the East", 1941) 
It is difficult to draw a distinction from a casual xenophobia, observable for any two peoples living side by side or even intermixed and historically involved in armed conflicts. Also it might not be always easy to separate actions unpopular in Russia caused by rational political concerns of its neighbors from the actions caused by an irrational Russophobia. The opinions on these matters are highly subjective and may vary a great deal between different historians.
Dr. Vlad Sobell of Daiwa Research Institute (a member company of Daiwa Securities Group) claims that what he sees as "Russophobic sentiment" in the West is a result of the West failing to adapt and change its historical attitude towards Russia, even as Russia has in his opinion ditched its ideology and opted for pure pragmatism, successfully driving its economic revival. He further claims that the west remained stuck with its unchanged and unchanging beliefs. He continues, that if anything, the orthodoxy was further entrenched by the West's perception, that, having won the epic fight against totalitarianism, it must forever remain the only game in town.
Attitudes and claims of attitudes towards Russia and Russians by country
In the October of 2004, the International Gallup Organization announced that according to its poll, anti-Russian sentiment remained fairly strong throughout Europe and the West in general. It found that Russia was the least popular G-8 country globally. The percentage of population with a negative perception of Russia was 62% in Finland, 57% in Norway, 42% in the Czech Republic and Switzerland, 37% in Germany, 32% in Denmark and Poland, and 23% in Estonia. However, according to the poll, the people of Kosovo had the lowest opinion of Russia: 73% of Kosovar respondents said their opinion was "very negative" or "fairly negative". Overall, the percentage of respondents with a positive view of Russia was only 31%.
A Russian commentator Vyacheslav Nikonov claimed Russia’s image is so negative in the West by quoting his Canadian friend: "The main problem is that these Russians have white skin. If they had been green, or pink, or came from Mars...or had flowers sticking out of their ears, then everybody would have said – well, these people are different, like Turks, or Chinese, or Japanese. We have no questions about the Japanese. They are different, their civilisation is different. But these Russians ... they are white but they have totally different brains ... which is thoroughly suspicious."
According to the distinguished Estonian philosopher Jaan Kaplinski, the birth of anti-Russian sentiment in Estonia only dates back to 1940, as there was little or none during the czarist and first independence period, when anti-German sentiment predominated. Kaplinski states the imposition of Soviet rule in 1940 and subsequent actions by Soviet authorities led to the replacement of anti-German sentiment with anti-Russian sentiment within just one year, and characterized it as "one of the greatest achievements of the Soviet authorities". Kaplinski supposes that anti-Russian sentiment could disappear as quickly as anti-German sentiment did in 1940, however he believes the prevailing sentiment in Estonia is sustained by Estonia's politicians who employ "the use of anti-Russian sentiments in political combat," together with the "tendentious attitude of the [Estonian] media." Kaplinski says that a "rigid East-West attitude is to be found to some degree in Estonia when it comes to Russia, in the form that everything good comes from the West and everything bad from the East"; this attitude, in Kaplinski's view, "probably does not date back further than 1940 and presumably originates from Nazi propaganda."
The Estonian businessman and politician Tiit Vähi, who briefly served as Estonia's prime minister in 1992 and once more in 1995-1997, described "overall anti-Russian sentiment" as a feature of the populist current in the country's politics, raising it as one among a number of issues with the ruling coalition of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip.
On November 8, 2010, former member of the Nazi Latvian Legion of the Waffen SS, Visvaldis Lacis, became head the Citizenship Committee in Latvia’s Parliament. Lacis is member of the right-wing nationalist party All For Latvia!. The party demands a prohibition of the Russian language in schools and the deportation of ethnic Russians. Lacis has published numerous articles and books glorifying Hitler’s Germany and regularly celebrates the invasion of the Soviet Union by German troops in 1941.
In a report by the Jamestown Federation, dealing with the topic of the (extremely positive) reception of John McCain's statements about Russia's "double standards in the Caucasus" (referring to how Russia recognized South Ossetia but would not let Chechnya go), one Chechen was quoted to have gone so far as to tell the website that Chechnya "cannot exist within the borders of Russia because every 50 years... Russia kills us Chechens"., demonstrating local fear of the Russian government.
Journalist Fatima Tlisova released an article in 2009 discussing the frequent occurrences of Russian Orthodox crosses being sawed off buildings and thrown off mountains in Circassia, due to the cross being associated with the people who initiated the mass expulsions of Circassians.
The Chinese Qing dynasty General Zuo Zongtang called for war against Russia during the Ili crisis, saying: "We shall first confront them [the Russians] with arguments...and then settle it on the battlefields."
In 1930s, a White Russian driver accompanying the Nazi agent Georg Vasel in Xinjiang was afraid to meet the Hui General Ma Zhongying, saying "You know how the Tungans hate the Russians." Tungan is another name for Hui. Georg passed the Russian driver off as German to get through. Ma Zhongying, a general in the Chinese army, then did battle against the Russians during the Soviet Invasion of Xinjiang. He was chief of the Tungan 36th Division (National Revolutionary Army). His brother Ma Hushan fought the Russians again, and killed many Russians in combat, leaving many graves at a memorial to war dead with Russian Orthodox crosses.
In 1951, Chinese Muslim General Bai Chongxi made a speech to the entire Muslim world calling for a war against Russia, and Bai also called upon Muslims to avoid the Indian leader Nehru, accusing him of being blind to Soviet imperialism.
According to recent polls 62% of Finnish citizens had a negative view of Russia. The main reasons are general distrust of major powers in world politics (in the same poll conducted during the Iraq War, 56% of Finns had a negative view of United States) and historically rooted antipathy. Deportation of Ingrian Finns, autochthones of St. Petersburg, Ingria and other Soviet repressions against its Finnish minorities have contributed negative view of Russia and Russians..
Most Japanese interaction with Russian individuals -besides in major cities such as Tokyo- happens with seamen and fishermen of the Russian fishing fleet, therefore Japanese people tend to carry the stereotypes associated with sailors over to Russians. According to a report by the Cabinet in Japan, the percentage of Japanese who dislike Russia is 15%. (Japanese dislike towards China is 35%, South Korea 20%, and North Korea 80%.) In the report it is forecast that Japanese Anti-Russian sentiment is decreasing.
Russian officials claim that negative feelings towards Russia are widespread in Poland. The New York Times reported after the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza that Gleb Pavlovsky, an advisor to President of Russia Vladimir Putin, complained during his 2005 visit to Warsaw that "Poles talk about Russians the way anti-Semites talk about Jews."  On the other hand, Poland's foreign minister Adam Rotfeld thinks that Russian politicians are "looking for an enemy and...find it in Poland.".
According to Boris Makarenko, deputy director of a Moscow-based think tank Center for Political Technologies, anti-Russian sentiments have existed in Poland for more than 200 years. He said that much of the anti-Russian feelings in Poland is caused by grievances of the past.  The most contentious issue is the massacre of 22,000 Polish officers, priests and intellectuals in Katyn Forest in 1940.  "It is easy to understand why, and I am not going to defend Russia either for three divisions of Poland [at the end of the 18 century] or many other [unjust things done to Poland]. These anti-Russian sentiments resurfaced in the recent decade and there are many examples of that." Makarenko said. He also noted that Poland had criticized Russia’s stance on human rights or press freedom, and had clashed with Russia over the Orange Revolution events in Ukraine.
Jakub Boratyński, the director of international programs at the independent Polish think tank Stefan Batory Foundation, said that anti-Russian feelings have substantially decreased since Poland joined the EU and NATO, and that Poles feel more secure than before, but he also admitted that many people in Poland still look suspiciously at Russian foreign-policy moves and are afraid Russia is seeking to "recreate an empire in a different form." 
There is a wide anti-Russian sentiment in Romania. It dates back to the conflict between Russian and the Ottoman empires in the early 19th century and the ceding of part of the Moldavian principality to Russia in 1812 after its de facto annexation, and to the annexations during World War II and after by the Soviet Union of Northern Bukovina and Bessarabia and the policies of ethnic cleansing, russification and deportations that have taken place in those territories against ethnic Romanians. Following WWII, Romania was occupied by Soviet forces. Soviet dominance over the Romanian economy was manifested through the so-called Sovroms, exacting a tremendous economic toll ostensibly as war-time reparations. Overall, there is a negative perception of everything Russian, including language, culture and people, and of those who take interest in Russia, such individuals seen as pro-Communists or Russophiles.
In a poll held by Kyiv International Sociology Institute in May 2009 in Ukraine 96% of respondents were positive about Russians as ethnic group, 93% respected Russian Federation and 76% respected Russian establishment. In a poll held by Levada Center in Russia in June 2009 75% of respondents respected Ukrainians as ethnic group but 55% were negative about Ukraine as the state.
In contrast to these polls, statistics released October 21, 2010, according to the Institute of Sociology of National Academy of Science of Ukraine, attitudes towards Russians have continued to decrease since 1994. In response to a question gauging tolerance of Russians, 15% of Western Ukrainians responded positively. In Central Ukraine, 30% responded positively (from 60% in 1994); 60% responded positively in Southern Ukraine (from 70% in 1994); and 64% responded positively in Eastern Ukraine (from 75% in 1994). Furthermore, 6-7% of Western Ukrainians would banish Russians entirely from Ukraine, and 7-8% in Central Ukraine responded similarly. This level of sentiment was not found in Southern or Eastern Ukraine.
The right-wing political party "Svoboda", small but growing on the national scale , has invoked radical Russophobic rhetoric (see poster) and has electoral support enough to garner majority support in local councils, as seen in the Ternopil regional council in Western Ukraine. Analysts explained Svoboda’s victory in Eastern Galicia during the 2010 Ukrainian local elections as a result of the policies of the Azarov Government who where seen as too pro-Russian by the voters of "Svoboda".
In May and June 2006, Russian media cited discrimination against Russian companies as one possible reason why the contemplated merger between the Luxembourg-based steelmaker Arcelor and Russia's Severstal did not finalize. According to the Russian daily Izvestiya, those opposing the merger "exploited the 'Russian threat' myth during negotiations with shareholders and, apparently, found common ground with the Europeans", while Boris Gryzlov, speaker of the State Duma observed that "recent events show that someone does not want to allow us to enter their markets." On 27 July 2006, the New York Times quoted the analysts as saying that many Western investors still think that anything to do with Russia is "a little bit doubtful and dubious" while others look at Russia in "comic book terms, as mysterious and mafya-run."
However, the same article also quoted Aleksandr Temerko, a former vice president of YUKOS, the company which was broken up and sold off by the Russian government, saying that Western investors should treat take-overs by Russian companies with suspicion: "What if tomorrow they decide to grab Mordashov [the oligarch in charge of Severstal] and force him to sell his stock to a state company?... Then some K.G.B. agent will show up at Arcelor and say, 'I'm your new partner'.... Political motives are real; they exist.... Investors are right to fear them." Some Russian activists who are against the greater political control associated with the rule of Putin and the United Russia Party are still disappointed by such Western repulsion, however, as a lack of foreign economic presence and investment is, in their view, one of the reasons why the new government and the KGB can so easily interfere in business and economics. Arcelor shareholders themselves portrayed their doubts about Severstal's bid very differently, and completely unrelated to stereotypes of Russian business practice: they were worried about the manner in which the bid was being presented to them by the Arcelor management, who were in favour of the take-over, and the degree of personal control Mr. Mordashov would have over the new company.
View of Russia in Western media
Some Russian and Western commentators express concern about a far too negative coverage of Russia in Western media (some Russians even describe this as a"war of information"). In April 2007 David Johnson, founder of the Johnson's Russia List, said in interview to the Moscow News: "I am sympathetic to the view that these days Putin and Russia are perhaps getting too dark a portrayal in most Western media. Or at least that critical views need to be supplemented with other kinds of information and analysis. An openness to different views is still warranted." 
In 1995, years before Putin was elected to his first term, the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press reported: "coverage of Russia and its president, Boris Yeltsin, was decidedly negative, even though national polls continue to find the public feeling positive toward Russia and largely uncritical of Yeltsin." 
In February 2007 the Russian creativity agency E-generator put together a "rating of Russophobia" of Western media, using for the research articles concerning a single theme — Russia's chairmanship of G8, translated into Russian by InoSmi.Ru. The score was composed for each edition, negative values granted for negative assessments of Russia, and positive values representing positive ones. The top in the rating were Newsday (-43, U.S.), The Financial Times (-34, Great Britain), The Wall Street Journal (-34, U.S.), Le Monde (-30, France), while editions on the opposite side of the rating were Toronto Star (+27, Canada) and The Conservative Voice (+26, U.S.)  
Dr. Vlad Sobell claimed that an example of the anti-Russian bias in the West was that in his opinion President Putin was widely assumed to be guilty of the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, without any evidence being considered as necessary. The only proof the Western press needed for Putin's guilt was, that the victim said so himself on his deathbed.
California-based international relations scholar Andrei Tsygankov has remarked that anti-Russian political rhetoric coming from Washington circles has received wide echo in American mainstream media, asserting that "Russophobia's revival is indicative of the fear shared by some U.S. and European politicians that their grand plans to control the world's most precious resources and geostrategic sites may not succeed if Russia's economic and political recovery continues."
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