Most Mentioned Enemies of Russia

How did Russian citizens respond to this poll question: "Which five countries would you say are the most unfriendly or hostile towards Russia"?
As of 2020. Source
Quiz by Gyrenaica
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Last updated: March 4, 2021
First submittedOctober 19, 2015
Times taken43,422
Rating4.79
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% Mentioned
Country
60
United States
35
Ukraine
29
United Kingdom
26
Latvia
26
Lithuania
26
Poland
16
Georgia
15
Germany
% Mentioned
Country
11
Estonia
7
Afghanistan
7
Canada
6
Iraq
4
Iran
4
Japan
4
Syria
+31
Level 76
May 1, 2018
Took me a long time to get Egypt. Suprised Georgia is so low, given the August War in 2008 and the continuing tensions over South Ossetia and Abkhazia.
+4
Level 70
May 1, 2018
I missed the least guessed answer. It did seem quite a random one to me, the others I can see the logic in their inclusion, but it seemed to stand out.

As for Georgia, I guess its size and the fact the 'war' was pretty much a walk over means Russians don't see them as a huge threat.

Interesting quiz though.

+7
Level 75
Jul 10, 2018
The war was not exactly related to Georgia or its people (going beyond the obvious). I went to that small country about a year ago and there were Russians everywhere in the non-conflict areas with no hostility shown towards them. The Georgian people told me "We love the Russian people, hate the government." So...
+6
Level 83
Dec 8, 2019
I'm surprised Armenia and Azerbaijan didn't make the list with the perpetual hot and cold fighting in the whole region.
+14
Level 81
May 1, 2018
Interesting. The source also lists countries that are perceived as Russia's greates allies and there are a couple of countries that are in the top 15 on both lists.
+45
Level 57
May 2, 2018
At some point the poll might be measuring "countries Russian have heard about/think about".

Another possibility is that there are countries that have a close relationship with Russia but which the Russian public is divided on whether it is a positive or negative relationship.

+23
Level 74
May 1, 2018
I'm very surprised (and happy), that Israel didn't make the list.
+30
Level 81
May 1, 2018
A pretty large percentage of Israelis are from Russia or have ancestors who were.
+5
Level 75
Mar 11, 2021
and they were refugees from Russia.
+24
Level 81
May 1, 2018
It was funny every country I visited that bordered Russia or was formerly under Soviet influence all had museums somewhere dedicated to Russian and Communist atrocities. Visited some in Tbilisi, Prague, Budapest, Kiev, and I think Warsaw. Noticed others many other places. They definitely aren't very good at making friends with their neighbors.

Also interesting to me was the range of attitudes I found in the people of Russia. These included the girl who, when told about my friends in Ukraine who really hated Russia, remarked "well, they're not wrong to," and another girl who, when I was playing a video on YouTube very soberly and matter-of-factly talking about Russian involvement in Ukraine became extremely upset and emotional and starting ranting about the media's lies and how mistreated all the poor Russians in Ukraine were (I think simultaneously implying that Russia was not involved in Ukraine, but that they should be to defend the poor Russian-Ukrainians there)

+3
Level 58
Mar 5, 2021
I visited Baltic countries, their museums gave a great focus to sovietic atrocities as well but also - lucky them - to nazi's ones.
+2
Level 84
Mar 6, 2021
Didn't find any anti-Russian exhibitions in Minsk.
+2
Level 81
Mar 11, 2021
The more autocratic and dictatorial the break-away countries of the former Soviet Union became, the closer their ties to Russia were.
+25
Level 84
May 1, 2018
Seems strange that a large country you have open border disputes with, 1.2 billion citizens, nuclear weapons and shares more hotly contested borders with your closest allies isn't mentioned but Egypt is.
+1
Level 69
May 2, 2018
There is no border dispute between Russia and China.
+23
Level 78
Jul 10, 2018
Having grown up with the Sino-Soviet Split and the possibility of war between the two powers, I can attest that they have a history of border disputes. I don't think the final settlement on the latest one was signed until sometime in the new millennium, and even though there is currently no official border dispute, tensions there are still simmering and could flare up any time in spite of their willingness to work together as economic partners.
+2
Level 73
Mar 11, 2021
1.4 billion citizens actually.
+3
Level 57
May 1, 2018
Interesting that at least 10 out of the 15 countries on the list are either direct neighbours or situated very very near...
+14
Level 71
Jul 10, 2018
I mean, that's a lot of countries...
+2
Level 65
Jul 11, 2018
It must be dreadful to be one of Russia's neighbors.
+3
Level 68
Apr 8, 2020
As a Finn I can say it is not dreadful at all. But I was surprised to see Finland on the list at all.
+3
Level 54
Sep 29, 2020
Nah, i'm norwegian and I love Russia
+3
Level 80
Mar 5, 2021
@SeaNomad: Just curious, are there no hard feelings lingering from the "Winter War?" (1939-1940) Going back even further, there's the orchestral work "Finlandia," by Sibelius, considered a "covert protest" against a pattern of Russian censorship. Perhaps these are far enough in the past to be considered resolved, but such things can be notoriously long-lived.
+12
Level 39
May 1, 2018
For those wondering why Egypt is on the list, it might be due to the terror attack by Daesh against a plane in late October 2015, above Sinai following its departure from Sharm el Sheikh. Otherwise, I don't see why Egypt would be on this list.
+14
Level 62
May 1, 2018
i dont know how Lithuania is a threat to any country
+12
Level 59
May 2, 2018
It is the Russian minority population living in Lithuania that are evidently feeling threatened. Also, Lithuania does not border Russia proper, but borders the exclave Kaliningrad, so could threaten it with the backing of the EU, a block much more powerful than Russia.
+3
Level 84
May 2, 2018
I didn't realize that Lithuania didn't actually border Russia, but now see that Belarus is between them. There's my new fact for the day, thanks amgine! :-)
+19
Level 69
May 2, 2018
But it does border Russia...
+1
Level 63
Jul 10, 2018
No it doesn't. Look at a map of Europe and you will see.
+17
Level 71
Jul 10, 2018
Look closer. Find Kaliningrad on a map. There is a non-contiguous region of Russia that borders Lithuania.
+4
Level 76
Jul 10, 2018
Well the original comment said Russia proper, implying they were excluding Kaliningrad.
+3
Level 70
May 1, 2018
Curious that "United States itself" made the list for every year represented in the U.S. equivalent to this quiz (regardless of who was President), but that Russians do not see their own government/leaders as potential enemies/threats. Russians could perhaps do with a dose of the skepticism/suspicion that seems natural to Americans.
+12
Level 75
May 2, 2018
"Russians" tend to be full of skepticism towards their own government. Never ever have they trusted their own government, not in centuries, so it's not really a "threat". Maybe they trust(ed) selected leader figures, but never the remaining bureaucracy, from the prime minister down to the local postman. No need for 'suspicion' since the wide-spread existence of corruption, focus on personal gain, and nepotism are common knowledge. Source: Russian friends in Russia.
+5
Level 71
May 3, 2018
I can't account for translations, but it says above that the question posed to Russians involved identifying countries that had a negative attitude toward Russia. I think that's different than the question for the U.S. quiz.
+2
Level 81
Jul 11, 2018
People are much the same everywhere. There are Americans who trust their government and those who don't. There are Russians who trust their government and those who don't. I think a couple commenters above are using different definitions of what it means to be skeptical. Americans traditionally are very distrustful of what they see as authority figures. I think many Russians are similarly cynical about their own leaders. But if you convince anyone that you are on their side and part of the team, it's easy to convince large numbers of people to believe almost anything and there are certain media outlets (Fox, Russia Today) that are exploiting this fact egregiously.

I wish that all people were more properly skeptical, as I define it- capable of thinking critically about any and all information whether it confirms your biases or trust or not. But this is in short supply everywhere. Human beings are prone to accepting the reality they are presented with. Skepticism has to be learned.

+1
Level 84
Mar 6, 2021
Lots of skeptical, distrustful people in Washington on January 6, 2021. None, however, capable of critical thinking or willing to engage in it.
+1
Level 81
Mar 11, 2021
Being delusional or paranoid is not the same thing as being properly skeptical.
+4
Level 83
Dec 8, 2019
I wouldn't wish any of the conspiracy laden, partisan blind, self-hate that America wallows in upon another country.
+2
Level 81
Jan 28, 2020
Russia would. They're the chief international exporter of this sort of thing, and the USA is their best customer.
+21
Level 57
May 3, 2018
Obviously I can't speak for all Americans, but I don't have any problem with Russian people. North Korean people. Afghan people. Syrians. Whoever. It's their leaders that are causing the problem. I hope you feel precisely the same way about us. We're just normal people trying to live life and take internet quizzes, man.
+4
Level 78
Jun 6, 2018
I almost completely agree with that opinion. As that old song from "South Pacific" so eloquently puts it - "you have to be taught to hate and fear". Without the prejudices that we learn from those in authority: parents, teachers, government, media, etc. we might actually all get along much better. I do, however, feel that it's not just foreign leaders, but that our leaders bear an equal share of the responsibility as do we as US citizens for electing them and then returning them to office after they've shown their true colors.
+7
Level 66
Jul 10, 2018
I found this to be the case when I visited Cuba. I was worried about hostility, especially when I went to Guantanamo, but everyone was very welcoming. I finally got the courage to ask a Cuban about it, and his response was just that: "We have no problem with you. We're happy you're here. It's your government we hate." I would also guess that this attitude is more likely in a country like Cuba, where the government controls so much of people's daily lives that the citizens can easily understand that a government's whims does not necessarily reflect the values of most of its citizens.
+1
Level 60
Apr 29, 2020
Exactly. These countries didn't ask for all of this to happen to them. Russia didn't ask for Lenin's Revolution. Syria didn't ask for Assad's "leadership". North Korea didn't ask for Soviet Occupation, or to be forced to become a Communist. The populations of these countries are not asking for bad stuff.
+1
Level 75
Mar 11, 2021
BotswanaEmperor: It seems that large parts of Russia did indeed ask for the October Revolution, although it was not just "Lenin's Revolution". According to Wikipedia, the February Revolution which got rid of the Tsar, "appeared to have broken out without any real leadership or formal planning." At the time, getting rid of the monarchy and trying out another form of government which (they hoped) would improve the lives of workers, was surely seen as good stuff by many Russians.
+3
Level 80
May 15, 2018
My methodology for this one: countries that share a land or naval border, or with whom they have a territorial dispute (got United States, Ukraine, Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Georgia, Canada, Japan, Finland), historic or Cold War enemies (got Germany and the United Kingdom), recent enemies (got Turkey) and, just for fun, allies (got Syria). Basically, they fear their neighbors (or are told to hate the countries they're most likely to invade). But Egypt? My system failed me on Egypt.
+6
Level 81
Jul 10, 2018
Egypt and the Soviet Union were close allies during the Cold War under the leadership of charismatic Arabist leader Gamel Nasser. When Anwar Sadat took over and pivoted toward the West, Russo-Egyptian relations quickly soured and would not be normalized until Mubarak.

Since then Egypt became an extremely popular tourist destination for Russians. I'm not sure what it's like now, but if you had visited the popular resort city Sharm al-Shaikh any time 5-10 years ago you would have seen most of the tourists there were Russian to the point where hotel signage and staff were more likely to be written in/speak Russian than English.

In 2015 a Metrojet (Russian) passenger jet full of Russian tourists departed from Sharm on its way back to Russia. It exploded mid-air killing everyone on board. ISIS's Sinai branch took credit and Russia suspended all flights going to Egypt.

+1
Level 60
Apr 29, 2020
I find it quite strange that they have hostilities towards most of the countries they border in Europe, but are just kinda "meh" to Kazakhstan and Mongolia.
+3
Level 81
May 18, 2020
Mongolia is interesting. They followed a similar pattern to many East European countries in the Soviet sphere: officially adopting a one-party Communist government, then going through a Soviet-backed reign of terror for decades after that. For some reason, though, Mongolians don't seem to hold a grudge about this, and relations between the two countries remain pretty positive.

Kazakhstan and some of the other former SSR countries that retained more authoritarian governments (notably Belarus and Uzbekistan) have maintained closer ties to Moscow than most of these other countries. Maybe because in countries that became more democratic, the common people's recollection of living under Soviet-backed authoritarian governments is more likely to find expression in the modern politics of those countries.

+1
Level 66
Mar 11, 2021
Not sure about Kazakhstan. I think they've been trying to distance themselves from Russia recently. The most obvious display of this is when, a few years back, they decided they wanted to switch their language over to the Latin alphabet instead of keeping the Cyrillic one. They've also tried to cultivate closer ties with the US and China through trade deals.

It's possible though that Kazakhstan sees Russia as a threat and not vice versa for whatever reason.

+1
Level 73
Mar 11, 2021
Mongolia might also be a case of, well, we really don't think about that part of Asia too much. They also act as a buffer between Russia and China.
+2
Level 71
Jun 25, 2018
The three countries I missed were so small (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania) that I thought they couldn't possibly be viewed as a threat by Russia. Who they view as a threat and the percentages is very random.
+8
Level 81
Jul 10, 2018
Russian state propaganda continuously pumps jingoistic paranoid nonsense into the minds of its people informing them about how the Russian-speaking populations in *every* neighboring country are being mistreated and abused, to prime the population for any eventual invasion that Russia decides to make to "come to the defense" of the Russian people in those countries. We've seen this happen already in Georgia and Ukraine; the Baltic states are very worried it might happen there next. If Russia's puppet in the White House continues to do their bidding by undermining every strategic alliance built since the end of WW2 and designed to contain Russia, and NATO falls apart, then it might happen at some point.
+6
Level 59
Jul 10, 2018
Appears to be a list of countries that Russians feel hate them, not the other way around.
+1
Level 81
Jul 10, 2018
we know
+1
Level 68
Apr 8, 2020
The question apparently wasn't "which country is a threat" but "which country is hostile/an enemy".
+1
Level 50
Jul 10, 2018
I feel so stupid I guessed every answer except Turkey and Ukraine.
+1
Level 52
Jul 10, 2018
Surprised that France does not appears in the quizz, it seems to be in the source.
+1
Level 46
Jul 10, 2018
This may explain it:

The French press highlighted that ISIS is the first common enemy that France and Russia fight shoulder to shoulder since World War II. A Russian newspaper recalled that "WWII had forced the Western World and the Soviet Union to overcome their ideological differences", wondering whether ISIS would be the "new Hitler".[

+2
Level 81
Jul 11, 2018
That doesn't explain why it's listed in the source (with 4% of respondents answering that way) but not on the quiz.
+3
Level 55
Jul 10, 2018
But why Syria?
+9
Level 81
Jul 10, 2018
The situation in Syria is very complex and 3% isn't a very high number of people. I'm guessing those 3% who answered that way are slightly confused.
+7
Level 39
Jul 10, 2018
Any country that list Canada as an enemies is either very delusional or controlled by totalitarian regime.
+8
Level 66
Jul 10, 2018
Or they're just salty that Canada has surpassed them as the preeminent force in their national sport.
+5
Level 46
Jul 10, 2018
Case in point: the United States.
+3
Level 81
Jul 11, 2018
There's a quiz on this site about perceived enemies of the United States. Canada isn't one of the answers. But you guys never miss an opportunity to publicly express your complex. It's like a never ending group therapy session.
+1
Level 51
Mar 21, 2019
But the question asked was whether Russians think that particular country dislikes them. Not if they are disliked by Russians
+1
Level 87
Jul 10, 2018
It's actually kind of funny how "hostility" needs no qualifiers as to why that just might be the case. The explanation for more than half of these answers is "No duh, look what Russia did to them!"
+5
Level 57
Jul 11, 2018
Something it seems a lot of people are overlooking is that the survey question does not ask about "threats", it just asks who acts the unfriendliest/most hostile to Russia. That's why so many smaller, less-influential countries like Georgia and Estonia are on the list.
+2
Level 37
Mar 5, 2021
Yes, Estonia and the other Baltic countries on the list have significant Russian minority groups and Russians think they are not treated well, so...
+1
Level 67
Jul 11, 2018
Iā€™m guessing Finland must relate to the whole Karelia situation, because otherwise, that has got to be the most bizarre answer to feature, even if they are neighbours. Who on earth are The Finns bothering?!
+1
Level 68
Apr 8, 2020
But there is really no "Karelia situation" at all, although some very limited extremist groups in Finland keep speaking about it. However, those groups have occasionally been discussed in the Russian media, so your explanation might be valid. There is also another negative topic related to Finland that I know being taken up by the Russian media every now and then: parenthood disputes concerning children who have Russian mother and Finnish father or vice versa (I guess the previous combination is way more usual).
+2
Level 58
Aug 2, 2018
I am surprised that North Korea is not mentioned at all on this list, even though Australia is. North Korean rhetoric and actions are a lot more threatening to the Russian people than anything the Aussies have ever done....
+1
Level 33
Feb 3, 2019
Cant believe i got all
+3
Level 53
Feb 21, 2019
As an American, I don't really like the current Russian government, but I'm much more worried about my fellow Americans than people anywhere else in the world.
+1
Level 81
Dec 4, 2019
I'm very worried about Trump and his GOP allies, but a lot of that has to do with the fact that they are doing Putin's work for him, either knowingly because they are craven and/or complicit, or unknowingly because they are ignorant morons, or some combination of both. I'm also very worried about the fate of American democracy vis a vis the sorry state of its present electorate and their level of awareness, but a lot of that is to blame on Russian disinformation. On balance I think Putin is the bigger threat here, though if he was removed from the picture I guess that Trump would still be a horrible president and probably destroying the world in some other way; and his supporters would still be ignorant they would just be repeating different lies not related to Russia.
+4
Level 57
Nov 30, 2020
lol why don't people understand the Cold War ended 30 years ago? China is 1000x more dangerous than Russia-- MSNBC is a disease
+2
Level 81
Mar 5, 2021
I'm quite sure I know more about both the Cold War and current events than you do, and your opinion on Russia is no doubt heavily influenced by Russian state and intelligence service propaganda which frequently makes its way into the talking points of Republicans, Republican-friendly news outlets, and even find their way to the lips of Progressive, anti-corporate, or anti-capitalist Leftists on YouTube, et cetera.
+2
Level 36
Mar 11, 2021
@BlazingWinter I'll agree that China is more dangerous than Russia. And if you want to say MSNBC is a disease, you gotta throw all biased (liberal or conservative) news outlets in with it, including Fox. Can't just say one side is a disease and the other isn't.
+1
Level 60
Mar 16, 2021
@Blazing Winter. Yes, I agree. With the collapse of the USSR, the troops and military resources that Moscow could call on shrunk considerably. And although Putin has strived to update and re-equip the Russian armed forces, the Chinese have the economic muscle to outspend their neighbour and they have the population required to dwarf the Russian military.
+2
Level 52
Jun 10, 2019
China is not on this list ? Seriously ? Are these people dumb ?
+1
Level 81
Dec 4, 2019
Well China and Russia have traditionally been allies going back quite a ways, though that could very well change in the near future as their interests are not so aligned anymore.
+1
Level 16
Mar 5, 2021
they both love north korea so
+2
Level 81
Mar 5, 2021
They both barely tolerate North Korea, based on past alliances.
+1
Level 48
Jun 21, 2019
I was very surprised China and North Korea weren't on the list. Russia and China had the Sino-Soviet split, and North Korea is basically insane and hostile to everyone.
+2
Level 57
Sep 25, 2019
Russia and China were under much different administrations in the Sino-Soviet split and North Korea being "insane and hostile to everyone" is false
+1
Level 66
Aug 15, 2019
Finland? How Finland? One of the fewest countries that people say they are happy and proud to be friends with Russia. These people that answered this poll are freaking out!
+1
Level 81
Dec 4, 2019
Probably a combination of what I said above about Russian propaganda prepping its citizens for any potential future conflict with neighboring states, and some lingering memories of the Winter War.
+3
Level 68
Apr 8, 2020
I'd guess not so much the Winter War (it is not very widely known at all amongst the Russian people) but the next one, 1941-1944 (in which Finland was the attacker and to some extent participant in the siege of Leningrad, too).
+2
Level 81
Apr 29, 2020
That makes more sense.
+1
Level 72
May 5, 2020
A bit surprised not to find Afghanistan on this list, after Russia's little adventure there.
+1
Level āˆž
Mar 4, 2021
It is now.
+1
Level 68
Mar 5, 2021
But why should (the official) Afghanistan be a major thread to Russia? Doing Jihad stuff may motivate similar things in some Russian provinces, fine. But the official country? I mean, under permanent fear of getting killed either by a drone or by jihadists, do still have the time to hate Russia (which was by the way fighting along with the government - not like that 2001 invasion)?
+1
Level 66
Dec 2, 2020
We should all definitely be concerned about the Latvian menace. Worse than Belgium!
+2
Level 16
Mar 5, 2021
well russia has been douchy against balkans and baltics
+1
Level 65
Mar 7, 2021
The minor fact that they occupied the Baltics for 50+ years.
+1
Level 55
Mar 4, 2021
Russia hates Iran? That's news to me.
+3
Level 25
Mar 5, 2021
4% of the interviewed Russian see Iran as a threat. That's not very hated after all, is it?
+1
Level 55
Mar 5, 2021
I thought that there would be at least 60 or so countries that those 4 percent would think of before Iran
+1
Level 16
Mar 5, 2021
as an estonian im a bit racist against russians but only against the teenagers who just piss on everything
+1
Level 51
Mar 5, 2021
Much easier than the friends one.
+1
Level 33
Mar 11, 2021
I expected Turkey to make the list.

And Estonia? Really? Why in heaven?

+2
Level 81
Mar 11, 2021
I'd like to buy the world a Coke, and keep it company . . .
+1
Level 36
Mar 11, 2021
Can't believe Turkey isn't on this quiz. They literally shot down a Russian fighter jet not too long ago. That one really puzzles me.
+1
Level 67
Mar 11, 2021
I missed Germany. *facepalm*
+1
Level 18
Mar 13, 2021
Cool Quiz! I was surprised to see Germany and Poland and somehow I missed Afghanistan but I see how they make sense.