Despite a war across the border, most Slovaks refuse to fight for their country

In a study from five years ago, people in Slovakia showed more bravery in defending their motherland.

Slovaks are less willing to fight for Slovakia in 2022 than five years ago, the latest "How Are You Slovakia?" poll has found.Slovaks are less willing to fight for Slovakia in 2022 than five years ago, the latest "How Are You Slovakia?" poll has found. (Source: TASR)

Most Slovaks would refuse to fight for their country in a war if Slovakia ever found itself in an armed conflict.

In fact, just about a quarter of people, 27.5 percent, would be willing to pick up a gun, the latest "How Are You Slovakia?" poll has found. Conversely, 37.1 percent said they would not engage in any fight, and 35.4 percent did not know how to respond to the question.

Researchers asked Slovaks whether they would be willing to fight for their own country if Slovakia were on the brink of a war.

Read also: CEO at Kyiv Independent: Putin will not stop in Ukraine. Our neighbours could come next Read more 

"The very low willingness to fight for Slovakia can be linked not only to low trust in some institutions and the state but also to a certain geopolitical split," sociologist Robert Klobucký said.

The Slovak Academy of Sciences, the market researcher MNFORCE and the PR agency Seesame, conducted the poll between March 31 and April 7, surveying 1,000 respondents.

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Older men ready to fight

As the poll shows, men would be more determined to join battle compared to women. A total of 33.5 percent of men said they would be willing to fight Slovakia's enemy. In the case of women, the number is lower, at 21.7 percent.

At the same time, men more often than women answered this question in the negative.

Read also: War in Ukraine would change Slovakia, too Read more 

It is men aged 60 or over compared to under 40s who would boost the country's combat forces, the poll also hints. This is because older men took part in compulsory military service during the Cold War, and their fathers had fought in the Second World War.

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"They experienced the war and heroism in the fight against enemies directly through the stories of their fathers," sociologist Barbara Lášticová explained.

No tradition in celebrating the army

Respondents who think that Slovakia should, geopolitically, belong with the West would be more inclined to protect their country. Individuals who agree with Slovakia's membership in NATO would also be more eager to fight, the poll shows.

Read also: Most Slovaks blame Russia for the war (poll) Read more 

On the other hand, university-educated respondents would be less willing to pick up weapons.

To understand Slovaks' positions reflected in the recent poll, Klobucký added that it is important to look back in time – there is no tradition in Slovakia of celebrating its own armed forces.

Furthermore, unlike other states and people, the Slovaks did not win any larger armed conflicts or uprisings in the past.

More courage in 2017

Researchers from the Slovak Academy of Sciences compared the current willingness with the European Values Study from 2017, when 56.4 percent of Slovaks said they would be willing to fight.

Read also: War in Ukraine. Is Slovakia safe? (Q&A) Read more 

Lášticová said that the reason behind a decline in people's willingness to fight for Slovakia is the fact that a war today is taking place next to the Slovak border and they can watch its consequences.

"Today, respondents see their willingness to fight for Slovakia less idealistically than in 2017," she concluded.

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