American Attitudes Towards Russia in the Post-Cold War Era

Author: Samuel McKnight
Major: International Relations
Approved: Spring 2018
Status: Completed

Every American has an opinion on Russia, often founded on the infamous Cold War rivalry or the threat of attack. Especially now, the perceived malice of a modern, aggressive Russia is on the minds of many American citizens. In order to probe possible opportunities for international cooperation between the two historical rivals, the present study analyzes attitudes and perceptions towards Russia on part of a sample of American college students. Further research explores new modes of public opinion formation among the younger generations. An extensive review of the literature on public opinion’s relationship to foreign policy, historical trends in U.S. opinion towards Russia, and the impact of the media on opinion provides the groundwork for the present study. Specifically, in-depth interview methodology and values coding methodologies are employed to study the nature of Roanoke College students’ perception of Russia. This provides a basis to synthesize a model for gauging and understanding perceptions of college students more generally and the potential impact thereof on future U.S.-Russia relations.