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Slovakia is neither pro-Russian nor pro-Western

Support for local groupings high, but less people praise the EU.

Illustrative stock photo(Source: SME)

Slovakia orients neither on Russia nor on the West, according to the recent poll carried out by the Slovak Atlantic Commission (SAC), the Central European Policy Institute (CEPI) and the Focus pollster between January 31 and February 7 on 1,000 respondents.

The poll was supported by the National Endowment for Democracy and the results were processed by sociologist Oľga Gyárfášová, the SITA newswire reported.

“We have been dealing with an increasing impact of Russian propaganda on not only Slovakia, but also Europe for about a year,” analyst Milan Nič of CEPI said when explaining the reason for such a poll, as quoted by the Denník N daily.

He explained that the main aim was to find out whether there is space for such propaganda and how vulnerable Slovak society is. The poll focused on the approach of Slovaks to institutions like NATO and the European Union, but also alternative media like Slobodný Vysielač and Zem a Vek, whose representatives have already met with the Russian embassy to discuss potential cooperation, Denník N wrote.

The poll showed that more than one half of respondents wants to be “in the middle” of the West and the East (51.8 percent). While 23.1 percent of respondents want to be part of the West, 12.3 percent want to be part of the East.

Gyárfášová said that the poll was carried out before the elections when attitudes of respondents were more or less stable. The strongest support for the West is in the younger generation aged 18-24, where it achieved nearly 40 percent, SITA wrote.

Regarding the relations with other countries, nearly 67 percent of respondents said Slovakia is the closest to the Czech Republic, while 37.2 percent picked Austria, 35 percent Poland, 31.9 percent Hungary and 31.6 percent Germany.

As for the membership of Slovakia in various groups, 63 percent of respondents picked the Visegrad Group (V4). As much as 52.3 percent of respondents praised the country’s membership in the EU, 51.1 percent in the UN and 30.2 percent in NATO.

The support for EU membership, however, dropped compared to 2010 when it was praised by 68 percent of respondents.

Nič said that the falling support for the EU is a trend across Europe, as reported by SITA.

Regarding the members of parties, most pro-Western oriented are voters of Freedom and Solidarity (42 percent), Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (37 percent), Most-Híd and Sieť (35 percent each).

Also the membership in NATO is mostly supported by voters of Sieť (45 percent), Ordinary People and Independent Personalities (42 percent), Most-Híd (40 percent) and Freedom and Solidarity (36 percent). On the other hand, the biggest critics are among voters of far-right People’s Party – Our Slovakia of Marian Kotleba, as reported by SITA.

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