The war was a surprise to nearly everyone. After all, it’s the first time a European nation has invaded another since World War II. While most are trying to get on with their lives and hope for a swift end, some have taken the opportunity to see the modern world’s changing attitudes with the context of a war-stricken Eastern Europe.
In December of 2022/January of 2023, a series of polls were launched to various countries around the world, hoping to gain an understanding of the world’s opinion on both the Ukrainian/Russian war and the future of the world as a whole. These countries were the United States, Great Britain, the EU-9 nations, Russia, China, India, and Türkiye (Turkey). Here, we will summarize the findings to give you the best understanding of how the East and the West see the war with an entire year of conflict behind them.
When Should the War End?
The war has been going on for a little over a year, and yet it seems like it’s gone on forever. Every so often a side will snatch a victory over the other, and it seems like the war could flip in one side’s favor with a big win. With all wars, however, no sides benefit, and with choosing sides comes criticism, sanctions, and financial complications. The war needs to end, but how soon? This was the subject of the first poll given to the people.
The opinion that the war should end as soon as possible, even if it meant Ukraine giving areas to Russia, was most popular in India, where a majority of the population (54%) just wanted it all over and done with. Türkiye, Russia, and China followed behind with plurality, though they were ultimately mixed.
On the flip side, the plurality of Great Britain, the EU-9, and the U.S. believes that Ukraine needs to regain all its territory, even if the war takes longer and more are killed or displaced. There was no strong majority with these nations, as everyone is understandably conflicted about the entire war.
Why is Ukraine Being Supported?
For Ukraine, its continued standing in the war is in part largely because of Europe and the United States. Their contributions have helped the nation stand their ground against the superpower that is Russia, and it’s because of them and the strategic defense/offense of the Ukrainian military that the war has continued to rage for so long. But why? That’s the question that everyone seems to have a different opinion of. We’ll show you the consensus of each group, but it needs to be stated that each winning option was through plurality and not through an overwhelming majority.
No one is buying that the United States is working to preserve Ukraine’s territorial integrity, and the same will go for Europe. Instead, a major chunk of Russia, China, and the EU-9 believe the U.S. is trying to defend Western dominance. Türkiye and Great Britain lean towards the notion that the U.S. is trying to defend their own security. Only India and the U.S. themselves are under the impression that they’re doing this to preserve Ukraine as a democracy. This should be no surprise, as President Joe Biden has been making this war out to be a fight back against an authoritarian regime and saving Ukraine’s democratic process.
Like with the United States, both Russia and China believe Europe to be aiming for a path of complete Western dominance. India is the only country where the plurality thinks that they are trying to defend Ukraine as a democracy. As for the rest? Well, the EU-9, Great Britain, United States, and Türkiye seem to all be in agreement that Europe is not striving for preserving the democratic way, but instead focused on defending their own security.
Do We Need Russia’s Resources?
Zoning in on the EU-9 for a second, they alone were polled on what approach their individual countries should take when it comes to purchasing energy fuels from Russia. Bear in mind, Russia is a large producer in energy, especially with oil, so this poll was to understand how the nine countries felt about taking these resources while knowing it was financially supporting Russia. In the end, a large majority (55%) agreed that the EU nations should avoid buying energy fuels from Russia, even if it disrupts supply.
Public Opinion: One Year Later
Speaking of the superpower, that brings us to how countries view Russia one year later, purely based on its strength and integrity. Is the sovereign state seen as weaker or stronger than previously thought? According to over 60% of the Indian population, Russia is far stronger than they gave it credit for, and this is followed by Türkiye and China, where the option won by plurality. Russia, surprisingly, only believes it was strong and still is strong, but not more than that, and there’s a large chunk showing that the citizens believe their military is far weaker than previously believed. It’s not only in military conflict, but in internal conflict within the court of public opinion.
As for the United States, EU-9, and Great Britain? The denizens, especially those of Great Britain, find that Russia is much weaker than previously believed.
In The End
The polling process and information gained was through a collaboration between the European Council on Foreign Relations and a project founded by the University of Oxford titled “Europe in a Changing World”. There are a couple more polls detailing how some of the countries perceive one another that are not directly related to the war, so we do implore you to check out the project and see what you make of the information yourself. Perhaps the opinion of the masses may give you affirmation, or perhaps reshape your views on how you view the war.
The war is still ongoing and we’re unsure when it will end. It affects all of us, even if indirectly, so we all wait with bated breath the outcome of this conflict.
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