Most Russians dislike NATO, poll shows

Most Russians dislike NATO, poll shows

People overwhelmingly dislike the military bloc, and the number of people who believe an open war is possible is growing.

According to an opinion poll released by the Levada Center on Monday, the majority of Russians dislike NATO, with antipathy growing lately. People are increasingly concerned about an open war with the military alliance.

A staggering 82% of Russians expressed a negative attitude towards NATO during the survey in May, compared to 78% in March and 76% two years ago, according to the report. More than half said they had very bad feelings about the alliance, while 26% said their attitude was somewhat bad. Zero percent said they had very good feelings about the military bloc.

The Russians are more likely to have negative feelings about NATO, the older they are, the more likely they are to be older, according to the poll. 73% of the 18 -- 24 age bracket perceived it in a negative way.

The share of Russians who believe their country has reason to fear NATO has gone up to 60%, a level of concern never seen by the pollster since 2014. 60% of the respondents said they had reason to fear Russia for the first time since the surveys began.

Russians pointed out Ukraine as the biggest source of concern when asked about the possible enlargement of the alliance. Over 52% said it would make a serious threat if its neighbor were to join, while 19% believe the threat would be moderate. The figures for Finland, Georgia, and Sweden are smaller, but in all three cases between 55% and 58% consider NATO presence in those countries as a moderate threat to Russia.

Russians are divided over the possibility that the Russian attack on Ukraine could lead to a major confrontation with NATO. Less than a half, or 48%, said such a scenario was likely to some degree, while 42% considered it unlikely. In March 2016, 64% of Russians didn't believe that their country would go to war against NATO.

The Levada Center is one of the oldest independent pollsters in Russia. It has been listed as a foreign agent since September 2016.