A considerable number of Russians believe that the United States is potentially a bigger threat to their security than radical Islamists, according to a survey published in The Moscow Times.
Out of 1,600 people in 42 Russian regions included in the poll, 22 percent said the U.S. was the most likely source of a terrorist attack.
In the ranking of the biggest threat to Russians, Islamic extremists came in second, with almost 13 percent of respondents citing them as the biggest threat.
The result is surprising seeing that a year ago only 4 percent of Russians had a somewhat negative opinion of the U.S.
A new addition – but not really shocking – to the list was Ukraine. The Russian neighbor, currently, at loggerheads with Kremlin had never before been cited in previous surveys on terrorism.
With 7 percent citing it as an imminent threat to security, Ukraine came in third.
While many would consider U.S. being a terrorist threat an exaggeration, it’s a fairly predictable response since American and European Union sanctions on Russia have reportedly started affecting the Russian economy.
“The central bank is undergoing stress tests to gauge the effects of further sharp falls in oil prices after Brent crude oil traded on Monday [October 20] as low as $87 a barrel, its lowest point in 18-months. Oil exports are crucial for the Russian economy, particularly with international sanctions on the country's financial and commodities sectors weighing on growth,” according to a recent report on Business Insider.
And it’s not just the perceptions on terrorist threats that have changed; the survey results also show that Russians have developed more confidence in their authorities over the past year.
“Russians have never felt safer over the entire period such surveys have been conducted [since 2002],” according to a statement posted on the pollster's website.
See Also: Putin: “I Will Fight Against Terrorists Until Their Complete Annihilation"