In recent months there has been growing argument in some quarters of the right about the right attitude to Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Particularly since Trump’s election, some of his fans have sympathised with the claim that Putin is not an enemy of the West but rather a natural ally in the fight against Islamist extremism. Others bitterly disagree – indeed, I’ve put in my own two penn’orth on the topic here.
Given that this is evidently a strain of opinion in circulation, we decided to test it in our most recent survey of Conservative Party members who read ConservativeHome. We asked 724 respondents to choose which of the following statements is closest to their view:
Putin’s Russia is an enemy of our interests in eastern Europe and of liberal democracy, and Britain should work against it.
Putin’s Russia is neither an enemy nor an ally.
Putin’s Russia is an ally in the struggle against Islamist extremism and EU expansionism, and Britain should work with it.
The results are interesting – an outright majority (53 per cent) replied that Putin’s Russia is an enemy. Just 17.3 per cent felt that Putin’s Russia was an ally of the UK. And 28.6 per cent responded that the country is neither an enemy nor an ally.