The fault of the war? 56% of Italians come from Russia, 27% from Ukraine and the West-

from Federico Fubini

According to the survey by the European Council on Foreign Relations in Italy there is the lowest share of critics of Russia compared to other European countries

The European Council on Foreign Relations in London has entrusted YouGov and Datapraxis a survey from which profoundly different attitudes of public opinion emerge in the main European countries regarding the war in Ukraine and its consequences.

The differences are evident both in the interpretation of the conflict and its responsibilities, as well as in the auspices on how to achieve peace or in the conclusions to be drawn in national policies in each of the countries. For example, voters’ perceptions in Europe vary widely with regard to the underlying demand: Who is responsible for the outbreak of war in Ukraine?. In the Ecfr / YouGov / Datapraxis survey, 90% of Finns and over 80% of British, Poles, Swedes and Portuguese believe that Russia has the “main responsibility” and never more than 10% attribute it to Ukraine, the United States or the European Union. The answers, on the other hand, are of a different nature in Western and Southern European countries. In Germany, 66% of respondents attribute the main responsibility for the war to Russia, in France 62%, while in Italy 56% see Russia as the first culprit of war e 27% indicate the role of “Ukraine, the European Union or the United States”. In relative terms, the answers collected in Italy are the ones from which it emerges the lowest share of Russia’s critics among the ten countries surveyed by the ECFR. A similar result also emerges when asked who is the protagonist who today represents the main obstacle to peace.

The Italians surveyed by YouGov / Datapraxis are almost equally divided as to this: 39% indicate Russia as the “main obstacle”, while 35% indicate “Ukraine, the European Union or the United States”. The responses in other European countries are instead less polarized: l‘87% of Finns, 74% of Poles, 69% of Spaniards, 63% of Germans and 53% of French indicate Russia as the main obstacle to peace. The Italians are also more aligned in what the ECFR defines the “peace front”, as opposed to the “justice front”: the former would like a cessation of hostilities even at the cost of consolidating Russian territorial conquests, while the latter would prefer that peace could only be reached on the basis of a substantial defeat of Moscow. 52% of Italians and 49% of Germans join the “peace front” (only 16% of Italians identify with the “justice front). At the other extreme, only 14% of Poles find themselves in positions on the “peace front”, while 41% of them prefer the “justice front”.

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48% of Italians also think that their government pays “too much attention” to the war in Ukraine (again, one of the highest shares in Europe), while 30% believe on the contrary that the government’s level of attention is “roughly correct”. In the end, only 14% of Italians believe that the government should increase defense spending “Given the war in Ukraine”: in this case it is the lowest affirmative answer among the ten countries surveyed, against a European average of 32%, with France at 31% and Germany at 41% in favor of an increase in military spending.

June 15, 2022 (change June 15, 2022 | 12:17)

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