This analysis of the STEM Institute for Empirical Research focuses on key impacts of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine and its perception in the Czech society. The war in Ukraine has engendered profound shifts in Czech public opinion regarding Ukraine, Russia and international cooperation. Equally pressing is the issue of nearly 300,000 Ukrainian refugees who fled to the Czech Republic. Further, the war has significant ripple effects on world energy supply chains and prices; it also exacerbates chronic systemic problems of the Czech Republic, such as rising prices or societal concerns about the quality of living. Finally, the war in Ukraine has induced a substantial transformation of the Czech disinformation scene.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine also brought an unprecedented sense of insecurity to the Czech Republic – only 9% of Czechs think there is no threat of armed conflict in the Central European region. Full three-quarters of Czech society believe that Russia is the unambiguous culprit of the conflict in Ukraine, which is reflected in the record-low ranking of Russia as a whole. Conversely, the share of Czech citizens viewing Russia in favorable light who would like the Czech Republic to belong to the East is relatively low at 4%.
The war in Ukraine has driven home the importance of NATO as well – full 78% of Czechs approve of their country’s membership in the alliance, which is the highest share since 1994. There is also a widespread agreement that the EU should strengthen its defense cooperation, jointly purchase weapon systems, and coordinate its gas and oil purchases centrally.
The Czech society is strongly supportive of Ukraine even two months into the war. Some two thirds (64%) of Czech society support accepting refugees from Ukraine who are seeking shelter in the country. However, Czech citizens are also worried about the impact of refugee arrivals – some 70% of Czechs express concerns about social welfare guarantees and 52% believe that accepting refugees will result in higher unemployment rates in the country.
This report is based on a STEM survey of a representative sample of the adult population (18+ years of age) of the Czech Republic. Data collection took place between March 24th and April 6th, 2022. March 24th and April 6th, 2022. Quota sampling was used for respondent selection. The sample size was 1171, and the interviews were conducted online or face to face (CAWI+CAPI).
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