How different are Russians and Americans, anyway?
But what about the countries' citizens? Are they as at odds as their leaders' rhetoric suggests?
WorldViews delved into recent opinion polls conducted by the Pew Research Center and Gallup. Together, the data provide interesting insights into what Russians and Americans think about each other and themselves, how they differ in certain ways, and how they are similar when it comes to other aspects.
Ways Americans and Russians think differentlyLess than half of all Russians think the U.S. government respects personal freedoms -- 20 percent fewer than last year. It is interesting to note that only one year ago, Russians and Americans had a similar opinion about the U.S. government's respect for personal freedoms. The massive decline since then has coincided with the upheaval in Ukraine, as well as revelations about NSA spying programs abroad.
Putin's strong approval ratings have been linked to Russians' enthusiasm about the country's military actions in Ukraine. However, such support might be fragile in the long run: The same poll found that satisfaction with life is about 20 percent lower among Russians than among Americans.
Ways Americans and Russians think similarlyBut social issues are also where Americans and Russians seems to share the most common ground. On some, Americans and Russians are actually closer to each other than they are to populations in many other countries in the world.
Rick Noack writes about foreign affairs. He is an Arthur F. Burns Fellow at The Washington Post.