Russia: The West's former arch-nemesis turned quasi-democracy whose leaders still teeter on the razor's edge when it comes to foreign policy, will undoubtedly be affected by the outcome of the 2012 U.S. presidential election. Most accounts indicate that Russian President Vladimir Putin feels he stands to benefit from an Obama second-term, and according to a recent poll by the Levada Center, the majority of Russians agree. In short, Russians think that Barack Obama better serves Russia’s national interests.
In the nationwide poll, 41 percent of Russians said they would like to see Obama reelected, while a mere 8 percent preferred GOP contender Mitt Romney.
Among those who favor Obama, 25 percent are reportedly well-educated with 65 percent hailing from "above average" income levels. Those who prefer Romney, meanwhile, are mostly women and those from the younger demographic, according to the poll. Interestingly, the poll also indicated the Romney fares well among Russia's lower-income demographics.
In an article for "National Interest," Ariel Cohen explains what is at play:
Under Obama’s “reset” policy, Russia got what it wanted: a START ballistic missile reduction agreement that benefited Moscow; U.S. prolonged involvement in Afghanistan, where Americans are killing those who may threaten Russia’s allies and its own soft underbelly; the de-facto recognition of Russia’s “sphere of exclusive interests” in the former Soviet Union, and a much-coveted membership in the World Trade Organization.
Cohen noted in a previous article that Putin is building his “fortress Russia” without so much as a peep from Washington. It also bears mention that Russians harbor a desire to weaken America's standing on the world stage, thus giving Russia more power, particularly within the UN Security Council.
"Finally," Cohen writes, "the Kremlin wants stability at home, preventing the opposition from seriously challenging the current ruling elite’s grip on power and maintaining the tremendous wealth of the largest country on the planet."
Clearly, Putin and his supporters believe their goals will ultimately be better realized with four more years of an Obama administration.
Below Russians share their views on the upcoming U.S. presidential election:
Russian-Americans, meanwhile, most of whom fled the oppression of the former Soviet Union, tend to favor conservative policies and candidates as they are all too aware of the destruction socialism brought to bear.