Russia: November 21, 2003


A recent opinion survey revealed that 44 percent of Russians sympathized with the Iraqis fighting the coalition forces that had just tossed out Saddam's government. Only 14 percent backed the liberators of Iraq.     Some 83 percent of Russians believe that al Qaeda will make attacks on American cities (although since late 2001, there have been no more attacks in American cities, but several in Russian cities). Russians are still very nationalistic. While they don't miss the Soviet Union, they do miss the Soviet Union's empire (which actually predates the Soviet Union) and Russias status as a superpower.  Losing the Cold War did not go down well in Russia, and backing Saddam (in order to make money on oil deals and arms sales) was seen as another defeat to those insufferable Americans. It's not that Russians don't like America, what they really dislike is losing again and again. 

Russia's continuing travails in Chechnya, compared to American progress in pacifying Iraq does not go down well in Russia either. Chechnya is far more chaotic and violent than Iraq, and American troops are obviously operating more professionally and effectively than their Russian counterparts in Chechnya. This causes Russians to call for their army to be transformed into a volunteer, professional force like what the Americans have. 


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