Press release №1989
04.09.2017
RUSSIA AND KOREA: TIES AND MUTUAL REPRESENTATIONS

IN BRIEF

  • Russia and the Republic of Korea are mutually attractive in terms of culture
  • Their relations have high development potential
  • Russians are mainly interested in establishing ties in high technologies, trade and medicine
  • Koreans see Russia as their partner in manufacturing sector, energy industry, politics and diplomacy

The study reveals positive assessments of the development of relations between Russia and the Republic of Korea; the prospects for partner relationships are optimistic.

MOSCOW, September 4, 2017. The Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the results of a study carried out in cooperation with the Institute of Russian Studies under Hankuk University of Foreign Studies; the study describes mutual perceptions of Russians and Southern Koreans.

Mass media is an important source of information about another country. Seventy-three percent of Russians (73% in 2016) and 83% Koreans (74% in 2016) cite television and Internet as the most popular media sources. Less than a quarter of Russians and Koreans get to know about the other country from personal experience; from foreign friends (6% of Russians, 3% of Koreans), family, and relatives (9% of Russians, 6% of Koreans).

Values of both Koreans and Russians are quite similar: both nations pay attention to family (37% of Russians, 76% of Koreans), caring for parents (24% of Russians, 44% of Koreans in 2017), traditions (22% of Russians, 48% of Koreans). The mutual interest of Koreans and Russians has increased over the recent year: the share of those who would like to know more about the other country has grown up both among Russians (38%, vs 30% in 2016) and among Koreans (51%, vs 36% in 2016).

Russia and South Korea are culturally attractive to each other: half of Russians (45%) and Koreans (43%) express their interest in the culture of the other nation. Russians take interest in Korean food (36%) and martial arts (24%), whereas Koreans like Russian architecture (32%) and cuisine (27%).

Russia-Korea relations have high development potential. Most of Russians (51%) as well as Koreans (64%) are confident that their countries may become partners. However over the recent year, a negative trend has been observed: the share of those who positively perceive this perspective is decreasing. But despite this, the two countries perceive each other as partners rather than competitors (49% of Russians and 38% of Koreans, respectively).

Cooperation prospects are seen from different angles. Russians think that the emphasis should be made on high technologies (32%), trade (31%), and medicine (31%). South Koreans consider that the two countries might be partners in industry and energy (58%), politics and diplomacy (33%), and military area (22%).

Both Russians and Koreans are focused on tourism; 51% of Russians would like to visit South Korea, and 66% of Koreans would go to Russia; a quarter of Russians (25%, 2017) and 16% of Koreans believe that tourism is one of the major areas of cooperation.

As a year ago, political background is seen as the main obstacle to mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries (35% of Russians and 525 of Koreans). This is followed by negative stereotypes reported by Koreans. However this factor tends to be less important (28%, 36% in 2016). Russians see remoteness as the main obstacle (19%, 16% in 2016).

Signing of a free trade agreement would help establish close economic ties between the two countries: 85% of Russians and 61% of Koreans support this idea.  

Positive images of both countries would contribute to building a partnership relationship. ‘South Korea’ has positive associations related to social and economic development. 

In the Korean consciousness the image of Russia is closely tied to history (Soviet Union – 10%) rather than the present times or particular characteristics or geographic situation (vodka is mentioned by 4%, Moscow by 4%).  

The study was conducted by VCIOM and the Institute of Russian Studies under Hankuk University of Foreign Studies with support of the Hankook Research Company on July 22-29, 2016. The study is based on the CATI and online surveys carried out among Russians and Southern Koreans. The Russian sample involved 1,200 respondents; the Korean sample, 1,000 respondents (the sample error does not exceed 3.5%). The samples are random, stratified by sex, age, education level and type of settlement.

On what type of information sources are your perceptions of South Korea/Russia based on? (closed-ended question, any number of answers, % of the surveyed Russians, Koreans)
  Russians Koreans
  2016 2017 2016 2017
TV shows and information from the Internet   73 73 74 83
Information from newspapers and magazines 22 23 35 35
Movies and books about South Korea/Russia 9 10 20 19
School or university courses 12 11 35 28
Family, relatives, friends 4 9 3 6
Stories of Korean/Russian friends living in S.Korea/Russia 8 6 4 3
Impressions after my visit to S.Korea/Russia 2 2 2 2
Other sources 8 6 1 1
Don’t know 9 8 8 5
Please, choose three values most typical to …? (closed-ended question, not more than three answers, %)
  Russians Koreans
  2016 2017 2016 2017
Family 39 37 57 76
Caring for parents* 0 24 0 44
Tolerance 34 23 19 6
Tradition 34 22 49 48
Courage 31 11 4 2
Freedom 25 12 17 18
Self-respect 22 14 20 16
Openness 21 18 3 2
Hardworking 14 26 49 31
Sense of nation’s superiority  13 8 15 9
Religiosity 11 11 4 1
Entrepreneurial skills 10 4 19 5
Respect for authorities 6 8 27 9
Honesty 6 19 18 10

* In 2016, this answer option was not offered  

            Which of the following statements best describes your level of knowledge about South Korea/Russia?  (closed-ended question, one answer, %)

 

Russians

Koreans

2016 2017 2016 г 2017
I know a lot about South Korea/Russia 1 3 1 0
I do not know too much but  I would like to 30 38 36 51
I know little and I do not want to know more 68 58 55 45
Don’t know 1 1 8 4
We treat certain nations positively (expressing liking and trust) and others negatively (expressing distrust and dislike). How do you personally perceive South Koreans/Russians?  (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Russians Koreans
  2016 2017 2016 2017
Positively; trust and liking 35 37 13 8
Negatively; distrust and dislike 6 6 15 18
Neutrally; no trust, no dislike   54 49 60 60
Don’t know 5 8 12 14
Generally speaking, would you say that you are interested in Russian/Korean culture? (closed-ended question, one answer, %, 2017)
  Russians Koreans
Very much interested 7 3
Somewhat interested  38 40
Not really  interested 32 37
Not at all interested 20 7
Don't know 3 14
What aspect of the Korean culture/Russian culture are you most interested in? (closed-ended question, not more than 2 answers, %, 2017)
  Russians Koreans
Korean/Russian food 36 27
Martial arts 24 10
Lifestyle, mentality 23 19
Architecture 16 32
Cinema, TV series 7 3
Korean/Russian music 7 11
Painting 6 1
Cyber sport 6 2
Fashion 3 3
Nothing 13 12
Other 7 2
Don't know 4 14
In your opinion, can Russia and South Korea become strategic partners (i.e. have arrangements to enhance long-term bilateral cooperation in key areas)? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)

 

Russians

Koreans

2016 2017 2016 2017
The countries are already partners 13 12 8 10
At the moment the countries are not partners but they can become them 53 51 69 64
No, the countries cannot be partners 14 16 7 11
Don't know 20 21 16 15
What kind of economic relationship is there between Russia and South Korea? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)
  Russians Koreans
  2016 2017 2016 2017
Competitive 20 19 27 24
Partner 55 49 41 38
Don't know 26 32 32 38
Could you name three main areas of the development of bilateral cooperation? (closed-ended question, not more than three answers, %)

 

Russians

Koreans

2016 2017 2016 2017
High technologies 29 32 36 19
Trade 27 31 32 21
Tourism and communication 25 25 26 16
Medicine 25 31 7 6
Politics and diplomacy 20 19 31 33
Science and education 20 22 25 15
Military and technical cooperation 18 17 28 22
Industry and energy 17 20 60 58
Culture 15 21 12 13
Agriculture and food industry 15 13 5 4
Other 3 3 0 0
Don't know 9 6 6 8
Have you ever visited South Korea/Russia as a tourist; if not, would you like to visit this country?  (closed-ended question, one answer, %)

 

Russians

Koreans

2016 2017 2016 2017
I have been there and I would like to go there again 1 2 3 2
I have been there but I would not like to go there again 0 0 1 0
I have not been there but I would like to 48 51 68 66
I have not been there and I would not like to 49 46 21 29
Don't know 2 1 7 4
Do you support the idea to sign a free trade agreement between Russia and South Korea? (closed-ended question, % of the surveyed Russians and Koreans, 2017)
  Russians Koreans
Completely support 35 13
Rather support 50 48
Rather oppose  4 7
Completely oppose 3 0
Don't know 7 32
Could you name two major obstacles that hamper the development of bilateral relations between Russia and Korea?  (closed-ended question, not more than two answers, %)
  Russians Koreans
  2016 2017 2016 2017
Foreign policy problems 31 35 57 52
Lack of information about countries  17 16 24 25
Distance barriers 16 19 14 8
Language barriers 16 16 10 5
Different cultures 12 17 18 13
Negative stereotypes 9 9 36 28
Lack of knowledge about legislative policies of the other country 8 10 11 5
Other  5 4 1 0
Don't know 21 18 8 13
What comes first into your mind, when you hear the words “South Korea”?  (open-ended question, not more than five answers, Russians, %)
  2016 2017
Industrial, technological development 30 30
Geographical position, toponymy 11 4
Division of Korea, civil war 8 2
Appearance of Koreans 5 5
Korean culture 4 6
Trade relations with Russian Federation 4 3
Relations with the U.S. 3 3
Nuclear arsenal  2 0
High living standards 2 2
Labor culture 2 1
Tourism 1 2
Severe political regime 1 0
Other 5 4
Nothing 11 6
Don't know 41 41
What comes first into your mind, when you hear the word “Russia”?» (open-ended question, not more than five answers, Koreans, answers given by at least 2% of respondents)
  2016 2017
Soviet Union 11 10
Cold 11 11
Putin 7 8
Communism 6 7
Vodka 4 4
Moscow 3 4
Gorbachev 3 2
Federated  state 3 1
Siberia 2 3
Beautiful women 2 2
Huge country 2 2
Dictatorship 2 2
Ballet 2 1
Military/Arms  2 1
Kremlin 2 1

Note: Using materials from the site www.wciom.ru or wciom.com, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory.

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