Lavrov on diplomatic offensive in the Gulf, as poll results suggest Arab street is indifferent to Ukraine situation
1 June 2022
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visited Bahrain and Saudi Arabia this week as part of efforts to consolidate relations with the region, despite the international outcry over the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The visit comes amid finding in a poll by YOUGOV that show that the Arab street is largely indifferent to the events in Ukraine. Faisal Abbas, the Editor in Chief of Arab News which commissioned the poll, in an article on 30 May, said that "most strikingly, perhaps, the findings lay bare the extent of the distrust of the West across all 14 of the countries covered in the survey. Almost a quarter of the 7,835 people surveyed (24 percent) pointed the finger of blame for the conflict squarely at NATO, while more than one in ten (13 percent) said US President Joe Biden was responsible. Only 16 percent blamed Russia." Abbas says that "this can be attributed in part to Russia’s massive investment in its own news channels in Arabic, and to a massive online outreach effort. But underpinning the widespread Arab skepticism on this issue is not so much the success of Russian propaganda, but rather the steady ebbing away of trust in the West over the past two decades."