Europeans generally reacted positively to President Obama’s re-election, just as they did four years ago. But despite Obama’s re-election at home and continued popularity in Europe, his presidency has not closed the long-running transatlantic values gap on issues such as the use of military force, religion, and individualism.
The Kremlin’s demand that the U.S. Agency for International Development cease its activities in Russia follows months of accusations by Vladimir Putin that recent anti-government protests in Russia are the result of meddling by the U.S. and other Western governments. However, many Russians may not be convinced that such meddling is a fact.
In Europe, there is a crisis of confidence in the economy, in the future, in the benefits of European economic integration, in EU membership, in the euro and in the free market system. The crisis has also exposed sharp differences between some Europeans, especially the Germans and Greeks.
A solid majority of Russians see attending protests as an opportunity to speak out about how the government is run, and more than half specifically approve of the mass demonstrations that followed the December 2011 parliamentary vote, which was marred by fraud allegations. Nonetheless, 72% of Russians voice a favorable opinion of Vladimir Putin.