20 years under Putin: a timeline


Views of the Ukraine crisis: Russia, the West, and the future of European security (Brookings Institution, June 10, 2015)


Katie Simmons, Associate Director of Research, Pew Research Center
Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes, Pew Research Center
Constanze Stelzenmüller, Robert Bosch Senior Fellow, Foreign Policy, Center on the United States and Europe
Michael E. O’Hanlon, Co-Director, Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence, Director of Research, Foreign Policy

During the event, Stokes and Simmons reported on the results of Pew Research public opinion polls on European security. In particular, the Ukrainian crisis was discussed, as well as relations between NATO countries, Russia, and Ukraine. 

  • 39% of respondents from the eight NATO countries where the poll was conducted believe that Russia is mainly responsible for the conflict in Ukraine; 18% hold pro-Russian separatists responsible.
  • 50% of respondents believe Russia is a threat to its neighboring countries.
  • 72% of Ukrainians polled view Russia negatively; 45% believe that Russia is to blame for the crisis in eastern Ukraine.
  • 70% of respondents from the NATO countries spoke in favor of direct economic assistance to Ukraine; 41% expressed overall support for supplying arms to Ukraine. (Note: Support for arms supply varied across different countries: 46% of American respondents supported it, compared to only 19% of Germans.)
  • Ukraine’s membership in NATO is favored by 62% of American and 36% of German respondents. On average, 57% of respondents in NATO countries support Ukraine’s accession to NATO.
  • Most people polled do not want the conflict in Ukraine to escalate. At least half of those polled in Germany, France, and Italy believe that their countries should not use military force to protect allies in the event of a serious military conflict with Russia.
  • According to 45% of Russians polled, Western sanctions have significantly affected the country’s economy: 33% believe sanctions are the main reason the economic situation in Russia has deteriorated; however, the same percentage of respondents believe that the main reason is the drop in oil prices. Only a quarter of respondents attributed the crisis to the economic policy of the government.
  • The polls also showed that half of Russians believe NATO is the main military threat to Russia.
  • About half the population of Ukraine would like the Luhansk and Donetsk regions to remain part of Ukraine; 50% of Russians view these two regions as either independent or part of Russia. 


Russian Media and Politics: a conversation with Alexei Venediktov, chief editor of the Echo of Moscow radio station (Carnegie Endowment, Washington, July 1, 2015) 

  • The Daily Beast calls Venediktov the “last independent Russian radio journalist,” but according to Venediktov, Echo of Moscow is not opposition radio, but a “platform to express opinions.”
  • According to Venediktov, the confrontation between Ukraine and Russia was inevitable under Putin. One reason is the psychology of the Russian president and his team: they only understand the balance of power that existed during the Cold War, when it was clear who the enemy was.
  • Despite the president’s “militarized perception of the U.S.,” it appears that the two sides “continue to exchange information,” in particular with regards to ISIL.
  • According to Venediktov, Putin expresses the mood of the majority. Authorities understand public sentiments, which largely reflect a post-imperial syndrome, and are trying to win back the population.
  • The Ukrainian crisis is reminiscent of the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, and is likely to continue for a long time.
  • Venediktov believes that as a result of the Malaysian Boeing MH17 crash in July 2014, the international community turned sharply away from Russia: “But, unfortunately, we will never know who shot down the plane. Of course, we will read the report of the [international] commission; [But] half of the world will agree with it, and the other half will not.”
  • According to Venediktov, the Russian president is determined to eliminate competition in all spheres of life. Putin believes that this policy is correct and effective, and this is a huge mistake.