Post-Soviet countries view NATO as a threat

New Gallup Poll: Many people view NATO as a threat than as protection. Such perception pattern is expressed by other post-Soviet states, with the exceptions of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and the Baltic States. In contrast, other post-communist countries in Europe, with the exceptions of Serbia and Montenegro, regard NATO more as protection than as a threat.

Michael Smith presents last Gallup poll how countries of former pro-Soviet camp view NATO. Residents in many NATO member countries in Eastern Europe associate the alliance with the protection of their countries. This includes majorities in Poland, Estonia and Lithuania. Kosovo, although not a NATO member, received military support from NATO during the Kosovo War between the former Yugoslavia and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), and its residents overwhelmingly (90%) look at the alliance as protection. The same holds true for residents of NATO member Albania (70%) — which also supported the ethnic Albanian KLA during the war. Similarly, it is not surprising that 64% of Serbians in 2016 view NATO as a threat and 6% see it as protection.

 

Eastern European Countries’ Views of NATO in 2016
Do you associate NATO with protection of your country, as a threat to your country or do you see it as neither protection nor a threat?

 

Protection Threat Neither
% % %
Kosovo 90 3 6
Albania 70 3 22
Poland 62 8 22
Lithuania 57 13 25
Estonia 52 17 26
Croatia 52 17 19
Romania 50 8 25
Hungary 49 9 25
Latvia 49 16 29
Czech Republic 46 13 27
Macedonia 45 13 24
Slovakia 37 19 35
Bosnia and Herzegovina 28 21 38
Bulgaria 28 20 34
Greece 23 19 45
Montenegro 21 29 35
Serbia 6 64 19

Gallup

With NATO’s inclusion of several post-Soviet states after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and its rebuking of Russia’s involvement in Ukraine, it is no surprise that Russia is at odds with NATO. Sixty-seven percent of Russians in 2016 view NATO as a threat, which is up 29 percentage points since 2012, and is the highest number that Gallup has recorded since it started tracking Russians’ views on NATO in 2008.

Residents of countries in Russia’s sphere of influence that are not NATO members tend to share Russia’s views on the alliance, if they have an opinion. Fifty-four percent of Belarusians view NATO as a threat, a 19-point jump from four years ago. Along with the Russians and Belarusians, more people in Ukraine (35%), Kazakhstan (31%), Kyrgyzstan (30%), Moldova (27%), Armenia (20%) and Tajikistan (34%) view NATO as a threat than as protection. Most surprising is that more Ukrainians view NATO as a threat (35%) than as protection (29%). It highly contradicts wide-spread Western illusion that it was Russia who is responsible for Ukrainian crisis.

 

Views of NATO in Post-Soviet States
Do you associate NATO with protection of your country, as a threat to your country or do you see it as neither protection nor a threat?

 

Protection Threat Neither
% % %
Belarus 3 54 30
Russia 3 67 20
Armenia 8 20 38
Tajikistan 8 34 20
Moldova 16 27 38
Kyrgyzstan 19 30 12
Azerbaijan 21 16 44
Kazakhstan 25 31 27
Ukraine 29 35 26
Georgia 37 8 35
Gallup World Poll, 2016

 

 

 

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