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Most 'New' Europeans Would Prefer to Stay Neutral Between NATO and Russia

A NED-financed poll just revealed the entire East-Central Europe (including Poland) would rather be neutral than having to pick a side between Russia and NATO

This post first appeared on Russia Insider


Czechs, Slovaks, Hungarians and even Poles all agree they would be safer if they were not forced to pick sides between NATO and Russia.

This is according to research financed by America's own National Endowment for Democracy. 

In each of the countries at least twice as many people agree with this sentiment as disagree with it.

(Slovakia: 73 percent to 24, Czechia: 61 to 34, Hungary: 58 to 27, Poland: 53 to 28.)

Russia in Europe?

Three of the four nations would like to see Russia as part of Europe's security system.

Slovaks overwhelmingly want Russia brought in (75 percent to 22 percent.) On balance, so do Hungarians and Czechs (54 to 26, and 59 to 36).

Poles are opposed, but not as overwhelmingly as Slovaks are in favor (35 to 51).  

US in Europe?

Meanwhile, asked whether they want the US in Europe just one of the four nations is unequivocally in favor – Poland.

Slovaks are greatly opposed (60 percent opposed vs. 36 support). Poles are greatly supportive (60 vs. 27)

Hungarians and Czechs are split down the middle (42 percent vs 41 percent for Hungarians, 51 vs 44 for Czechs).

Conclusion

Slovaks want the US out of NATO, and Russia in.

Poles want to keep the US in Europe and Russia out.

Hungarians and Czechs probably want Russia in Europe, but aren't sure if they want the US as well.

None want to be pressured to pick sides between NATO and Russia.

The poll confirms what everyone who has spoken to Eastern Central Europeans who don't work for NGOs already knows. While NATO is popular there, it is popular because it is a pan-European alliance. Its trans-Atlantic character is not cherished nearly as much.

In Slovakia, Hungary and Czechia an EU-Russia, or an EU-Russia-US alliance, would be an easier sell than the current EU-US system.

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