EESC introduces study of Lithuanian citizens’ perceptions of international politics and threats

Jul 8, 2020 | 2020, News, Uncategorized

On July 3, the Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) presented its Geopolitical and International Politics and Threats Perception study, which was performed based on a representative public opinion survey.

The study was performed for the third time in four years. The introductory presentation featured Minister of National Defence Raimundas Karoblis, Vilnius University Institute of International Relations and Political Science (VU TSPMI) director Margarita Šešelgytė, the prime minister’s advisor for national security and domestic policy questions Arnoldas Pikžirnis and member of Seimas, National Security and Defence Committee deputy chairman Laurynas Kasčiūnas.

The project was implemented alongside the Ministry of National Defence and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation. According to EESC director Linas Kojala, it is expected that next year, the study will be expanded and will also encompass a qualitative element in order to better comprehend the motives for the respondents’ choices and better interpret the results received.

Key conclusions from the study:

  • 62% of respondents stated they were proud to be Lithuanian citizens.
  • A quarter (26%) of Lithuanian residents think that the European Union (EU) reacted to the COVID-19 pandemic suitably.
  • Latvia continues to be viewed as the friendliest state, while Russia – the unfriendliest. A slight negative shift has been noted regarding Poland and the USA. It has been observed that a significant number of people have no opinion on China. Germany is viewed as a friendly state by 87% of respondents, Estonia – 85%, Sweden – 84%, Ukraine – 81%, Poland – 74%, the USA – 74%.
  • From among foreign leaders, survey takers were most positively inclined regarding German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while most negatively – Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko.
  • 53% of respondents have no doubt that in case of danger, NATO allies would come to Lithuania’s aid.
  • 64% of survey takers believe that Russian foreign policy poses a threat to Lithuania and believe that Russia itself is hindering bilateral relations between the two states.
  • 53% of people think that a military conflict between Russia and the West is possible and most (51%) believe that it could arise due to aggressive actions by Moscow.
  • 41% of respondents agree that EU sanctions on Russia over the war in Ukraine must be maintained even if they lead to economic losses.
  • 46% of survey takers make use of foreign news media outlets and 68% use Western social media in order to receive information. A negative trend has also been observed – most (59%) of respondents do not double-check information before sharing it on social media.

The study introduction was followed by the traditional Eastern Europe Studies Centre season closing picnic. During it, the centre’s friends, decision-makers and institution representatives were acquainted with the works submitted to the open creative competition Draw Lithuanian Foreign Policy.

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