Slovaks trust Russia the most, Poles the least

Survey shows differences among the attitudes of four central European countries.

Prime Ministers of Hungary Viktor Orban, Poland Beata Szydlo, Czech Republic Bohuslav Sobotka and Slovakia Robert Fico, from left, are about to cut a cake to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Visegrad group prior to a Summit of the V4 Prime Ministers with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and the President of Macedonia in Prague on February 15.Prime Ministers of Hungary Viktor Orban, Poland Beata Szydlo, Czech Republic Bohuslav Sobotka and Slovakia Robert Fico, from left, are about to cut a cake to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the Visegrad group prior to a Summit of the V4 Prime Ministers with the Prime Minister of Bulgaria and the President of Macedonia in Prague on February 15. (Source: AP/SITA)

The Visegrad Group (V4) countries differ in their attitudes towards Russia and the USA, as shown by the survey carried out on respondents from Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland.

The inquiry in Slovakia was carried out by the Institute for Public Affairs (IVO) on 1,067 respondents, the TASR newswire reported.

Slovaks, for example, trusts the USA the least (with only 27 percent of respondents), while they trust Russia the most (with 31 percent of respondents). Conversely, Poles trust the USA (50 percent) the most and Russia (9 percent) the least. Czechs and Hungarians lie somewhere in between with greater trust in the USA (41 and 33 percent, respectively) and lower trust in Russia (16 and 17 percent, respectively), TASR wrote.

The higher level of trust among Slovaks in Russia when compared to other V4 countries could be caused by the pro-Russian legacies of certain representatives of the Slovak national revivalist movement in the 19th century led by Ľudovít Štúr, by social experience after World War II or by a technological upswing in Slovakia’s agriculture during the communist era.

“Polish distrust in Russia is deeply embedded in past experience and fomented by the current political discourse,” said Oľga Gyárfášová of IVO, as quoted by TASR.

Meanwhile, all V4 countries are relatively highly distrustful of Ukraine, which may well be caused by fears of political instability and threats related to the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. A lack of information and other long-term aspects might also be reasons.

When it comes to V4 cooperation, Slovaks are most likely to see this as meaningful (70 percent). Second come Czechs (50 percent), followed by Hungarians (43 percent) and Poles (41 percent). Publicly presented interest in Slovakia’s political representation in V4 cooperation could be responsible for the high figure. People in all V4 countries are most interested in mutual economic and trade cooperation, followed by defence and security, and pushing through joint initiatives at the EU level, TASR reported.

The trust shown by V4 countries in each other as well as in other EU states varies. Almost 80 percent of both Czechs and Slovaks trust each other. Next in line in terms of trust among Slovaks are Austrians (49 percent) and Poles (40 percent). Hungarians were in ninth place (30 percent).

Apart from Slovakia, Czechs place the most trust in France (59 percent) followed by Poland, Great Britain and Austria (all 58 percent). Hungary scored 37 percent. Poles trust Slovaks (69 percent) the most, followed by Czechs (61 percent) and Hungarians (61 percent), while Hungary is most trusting of Germany (62 percent) followed by Poland (58 percent). Czechs and Slovaks were together in fourth place at 40 percent, TASR wrote.

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