Examination of the speeches, writings and editorials by the Putin Administration in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks showed a consistent storyline that equated Russia’s war against Chechen terrorists with the subsequent US attack on the Taliban and Al Qaeda. The storyline made a strong case for a Russian alliance with the US and the West against those who were attacking the ‘civilized world’. Two alternative storylines also emerged. The centrist-liberal storyline was skeptical of the benefits accruing to Russia from its support of the Bush Administration’s policy, while the national patriotic-Communist storyline concentrated on the ‘imperialist’ drive of the United States to control the resources of Eurasia. The resonance of the dominant Putin storyline and its skeptical and suspicious alternatives among the Russian public is tested by analysis of the responses to a representative national survey of 1800 adults conducted in April 2002. Significant socio-demographic differences appear in responses to eight questions. The Putin storyline is accepted by the rich supporters of the Edinstvo party, males, ‘Westernizers’, residents of Siberia, singles and young adults, while the oppositional storylines are supported by Communist party supporters, the elderly, Muslims, women, the poor, and residents of Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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