A new post-Soviet record: 68% of Americans view Russia as unfriendly or an enemy

Americans’ negative views are a fairly recent development after an increasingly tense period in U.S.-Russian relations, starting when Putin granted temporary asylum to Edward Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who went public with his insider knowledge of the agency’s surveillance secrets. Putin also intervened in the Syrian chemical weapons conflict last fall, ultimately brokering a peaceful solution, and chastised President Barack Obama in an op-ed in the New York Times.

This winter, the Sochi Olympics drew immense attention to Russia, including its anti-gay policies, its difficulties in preparing for the Winter Games, and fears about possible terrorist attacks at the global competition. But the situation in the Crimean region of Ukraine has garnered the most recent headlines because Putin called into question the sovereignty of the territory.