ERR News poll: more NATO soldiers, permanent bases
After US officials said this week if the 150 troops stationed in Estonia would stay an additional year until at least 2016, ERR News asked its readers in an online poll about the deployment.
The “more troops” camp dominated the poll, with 56 percent saying permanent NATO bases, similar to the US bases in South Korea and Japan, should be welcomed.
Another 21 percent said the US troops, currently numbering 150 in Estonia, with similar numbers in Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, help keep Russia at bay, but it is only a temporary solution.
Every tenth poll taker said the troops are foremost symbolic and would not play a role in a combat scenario.
One in 20 said the news will only anger Russia, while 8 percent said the troops are no different to the Soviet soldiers who occupied Estonian territory until the last units pulled out in 1994.
The results mean the vast majority (77 percent) of ERR News readers, of whom around two-thirds are based outside of Estonia, support US troops on the ground in Estonia, while only 13 percent are opposed.
ERR News asked its readers for their reaction to extending US troop presence in Estonia
56 percent – more troops, permanent bases
21 percent – US presence helps, but should remain temporary
10 percent – the current small number has no military effect
8 percent – US troops are in the same bracket as other occupation forces
5 percent – the news will further anger Russia