Russia’s leaders are turning against Trump after sanctions, and so are its people

Meet one of the hands Congress is tying.
Meet one of the hands Congress is tying.
Image: Reuters/Carlos Barria
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A survey in June of global citizens’ views on world leaders brought unhappy news to the White House: Only Russia and Israel preferred US president Donald Trump to Barack Obama. In the 37 countries polled, his approval rating was just 22%.

Now, with his hands tied by Congress over sanctions, Trump is losing out even in Russia.  That Pew poll showed that 53% of Russians were confident in Donald Trump in late June. That number is now down to 18% in a survey by Russian state-run pollster VTSIOM held last week just after Congress passed the new sanctions bill, according to Kremlin-friendly news outlet RBC (link in Russian).

Trump has generally scored much lower in VTSIOM polls than in the Pew survey and this latest one still sees his approval drop nine points from 27% in early July. Meanwhile, 29% of the 1,200 respondents polled July 30-31 now have a negative view of him, as opposed to 22% before. A little less than half (43%) said they were indifferent to Trump.

The president has lashed out at the sanctions bill—which sailed through Congress—calling it “significantly flawed” in a statement released as he signed it into law. That didn’t stop a withering response from the Kremlin. Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev wrote on Facebook that Trump’s administration was showing its “total impotence” by signing the bill, which would result in a “full-scale trade war” and meant that any “hope of improving our relations with the new American administration are finished.”