Interpreting A Top EU Think Tank’s Latest Survey On Polish Attitudes Towards Ukraine

The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) published its latest survey on “The meaning of sovereignty: Ukrainian and European views of Russia’s war on Ukraine”, which includes detailed insight into European societies’ views on these subjects. The present piece will only analyze Poles’ views though since it’s beyond the scope to analyze other societies’. This subject has already been covered twice this year thus far as the reader can see from the following two analyses that they should consider skimming:

* 21 February: “A Top EU Think Tank’s Poll Proved That Polish Views Towards Ukraine Are Noticeably Shifting

* 27 March: “What Do The Latest Surveys Say About Poles’ Attitudes Towards Ukraine & The Farmers’ Protests?

The ECFR’s latest survey included some of the same questions as the one that was published in February, and comparisons will be mentioned whenever it’s relevant, but there are also many new questions too that add a lot more insight into Polish society’s views towards Ukraine. The purpose of this exercise is to report their current views, identify how they changed if that’s relevant, and interpret the overall importance of this data.

When asked about the Ukrainian Conflict’s most likely outcome, 19.7% said that it’ll end in Ukrainian victory, 14.3% said that it’ll end in a Russian one, while 33.9% said that it’ll end in a compromise. This compares to 17%, 14%, and 27% from the last survey. When asked about the outcome if Ukraine receives increased weapons, the data changes to 34.7%, 7.4%, and 29.2%. That follow-up question wasn’t included in the original survey so there’s no prior data to compare.

The next question was about when the conflict will end, with 8% of Poles predicting it’ll be within the next year, 51% foreseeing an end somewhere between 1-5 years, 10% longer than that, and 4% believe that it’ll never end. As for those who consider Russia’s military strength to be a barrier to Ukraine reconquering its lost territories, 50% of Poles think it’s a large one and 23% deem it a moderate one, while 7% think it’s a small barrier and just 3% think it’s none at all.

Poles were then asked about the likelihood of Russia attacking a European country, which 15% of Poles assessed as very likely and 35% as rather likely compared to 8% who assessed it as very unlikely and 23% as rather unlikely. As for a NATO-Russian hot war, which 5% said was very likely and 21% said rather likely compared to 12% who think it’s very unlikely and 39% who think it’s rather unlikely. In other words, 50% expect Russia to attack a European country, but only 26% think this will lead to war with NATO.

This either indicates distrust in NATO’s commitment to Article 5 or Poles are assuming that Moldova and/or Georgia, neither of which are NATO members, will be attacked. It’s unclear, but the second explanation is most likely. The next question produced the most surprising results compared to the first ECFR survey. The latest one said that 9% of Poles considered the EU’s role in the conflict to very positive and 42% rather positive compared to 5% who considered it very negative and 8% rather negative.

Just several months ago, however, 34% had a positive assessment and 31% a negative one, with no option at the time for clarifying the degree to which they held each view unlike the latest survey. It’s unclear what accounts for this drastic change since the latest EU Parliamentary elections proved that Poles’ views remain more or less just as partisan as during last fall’s parliamentary ones. One possibility is that Ukraine’s security guarantee agreements and talks with EU countries influenced their impression.

Moving along, Poles were then asked about whether Ukraine’s allies should increase ammo and weapons supplies to it, which 66% said was a good idea compared to 18% who said that it was a bad one. Building upon that topic and the preceding one, 50% of Poles believe that the EU should support Ukraine in reconquering its lost territories while 26% think that it should push Kiev towards peace talks. This compares to 47% and 23% from the first survey earlier this year so no significant change occurred.

Another interesting point where the data remained the same concerns Poles’ views of whether their country is at war with Russia. 20% agreed and 62% disagreed during the latest survey, which is roughly the same as what those who shared their views on this sometime last year said at 22% and 60%. That question wasn’t included in the survey from early 2024 but in an earlier one before that. The takeaway is that Poland’s change of leadership last year had no influence on Poles’ stance towards this question.

When asked how they felt about Ukraine joining the EU, 48% of Poles said that it was a good idea compared to the 31% who said that it was a bad one. 69% of the first believe that it would help end the conflict (29%), that Ukraine is culturally part of Europe and belongs in the EU (22%), and that this would make the EU more secure (18%). As for the second, 74% believe that Ukraine is too corrupt (26%), it would cost the EU too much (18%), make the EU less secure (15%), and negatively impact Poland (15%).

Relatedly, 5% of Poles think that Ukraine will join the EU within the next year while 35% think that it’ll be between the next 1-5 years, which compares to 25% who think it’ll take longer than 5 years and 13% who think it’ll never happen. As a reminder, 62% earlier predicted that the conflict will end within the next 5 years, so 22% of them (or around more than a third of this category’s total) don’t believe that EU membership would occur within that timeframe.

Drawing near the end, the latest survey showed that just 14% of Poles supporting their national troops fighting in Ukraine compared to 69% who oppose it, which is a slight change from the earlier hyperlinked survey from spring by a popular radio station which showed that 9.4% supported it. This might be explained by a growing awareness among some about Ukraine’s military weaknesses and the attendant fear that the West might be strategically defeated by Russia unless Poland conventionally intervenes.

Of those who supported this, 62% want Poland to provide technical assistance while 58% want it to patrol the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, which has recently seen a Ukrainian military buildup that occurred over a month after the survey was taken in May. Only 14% want Poland to directly fight Russia. What this shows is that even those who want Poland to conventionally intervene in the conflict are overwhelmingly in favor of their troops only playing a non-combat role.

Finally, 53% of Poles agreed that the Ukrainian Conflict showed that Poland should spend more on defense even if this is at the expense of cutting spending on health, education, and crime prevention, while just 23% disagreed. 15% “don’t know” while 9% said “neither”, whatever the latter is supposed to convey, though both can be assumed to disagree with the question. Therefore, the country is roughly split in half over this emotive issue.

The takeaway from the ECFR’s latest survey is that a sizeable minority of the Polish population holds views that contradict popular stereotypes. Casual observers assume that most Poles are gung-ho about NATO’s proxy war on Russia in Ukraine, though the reality is that quite a few aren’t, even though some of them do indeed conform with this expectation. The majority of the population is actually just “moderately” in support. Here’s a review of the most relevant data points in support of this conclusion.

33% believe that the conflict will end with a compromise; 31% don’t’ expect Russia to attack a European country; 51% think that a NATO-Russian hot war is unlikely; 62% don’t consider Poland at war with Russia; 13% deem the EU’s role in the conflict to be negative; 31% don’t think that Ukraine should join the bloc; 18% think that sending more ammo and arms there is a bad idea; 26% think that it should push Ukraine towards peace talks instead; 69% oppose sending Polish troops to Ukraine in any capacity; and 47% of them can be considered against raising military spending at the expense of social spending.

By contrast, just 19.7% think that the conflict will end with Ukrainian victory; 50% think that Russia will attack a European country; 26% fear that a NATO-Russian hot war is likely; just 20% consider Poland to be at war with Russia; 51% deem the EU’s role in the conflict to be positive; 48% want Ukraine to join the EU; 66% want more military aid to Ukraine; 50% think that it should continue aiding that country till it reconquers its lost territories; only 14% want Polish troops there (and less than 2% of those surveyed want them to fight Russia); and 51% want to raise defense spending at the expense of social spending.

As can be seen, while a sizeable minority of the population conforms with the stereotype of Poles being gung-ho about NATO’s proxy war on Russia in Ukraine, a roughly equal minority has soured on it even though that doesn’t automatically mean that they’re anti-Ukrainian or anti-Western. Most Poles as a whole are moderately pro-Ukrainian, which can be attributed to socio-cultural and historical factors, but they’re not radical Russophobes like casual observers might have hitherto assumed.


Leia Meid Youtubes!spot_img


- Soovitus -spot_img
- Soovitus -spot_img
- Soovitus -spot_img
- Soovitus -spot_img
- Soovitus -