Support for Ukrainian refugees rises among non-Estonians

Ukrainian refugees' registration center in Tallinn.
Ukrainian refugees' registration center in Tallinn. Source: Priit Mürk/ERR

Support among non-Estonian residents for arriving Ukrainian war refugees rose in April, data from a newly published survey shows.

The average level of support for refugees from both Estonians and non-Estonians was 77 percent at the end of February but it had risen to 81 percent by the end of April.

The increase has come from residents of other nationalities, usually categorized as Russian speakers, with support rising from 48 percent to 59 percent over this time period.

Estonians' support for the arriving refugees has always been above 90 percent.

Support for arriving and hosting war refugees is highest among people over 50 years old who are financially secure and have higher education. They also tend to have a high level of trust in the Estonian media and government institutions.

Those who have the lowest levels of support tend to be families with young children, the unemployed and people who are financially insecure. They tend to have a lower level of trust in state institutions, be less satisfied with their lives and are more likely to support Russian media.

Across the region, support for refugees is highest in Western, Central and Southern Estonia at almost 90 percent. It is lower in Tallinn at 77 percent and lowest at 54 percent in Ida-Viru County. 

The survey was commissioned by the Government office between April 8-11 and conducted by pollsters Turu-uuringute AS online and by phone. In total, 1,256 people took part across Estonia.  

Media trust

The poll also asked about trusted sources of media. Estonian-language television channels and news portals were the most trusted sources by Estonians, with 71 percent and 61 percent respectively.

The importance of these channels for non-Estonians has risen since the war began, from 43 percent to 54 percent.

Meanwhile, social media and communication with friends or family have fallen in importance for non-Estonians and levels of support have dropped. Social media fell from 37 percent to 30 percent and family/friends from 32 percent to 23 percent.

Looking at Russian TV channels, 30 percent of non-Estonians said they were important compared to 29 percent at the end of March. Of the total average, 18 percent of people said they were important.

Media and the war

89 percent of Estonians trust Estonian TV channels' reports about the war in Ukraine. Additionally, trust in western media has risen from 65 percent to 72 percent since the end of March.

The number is much lower for non-Estonians. 38 percent of those polled trust Estonian media channels, 28 percent trust Russian news channels, western media received 25 percent and 15 percent support media from Ukrainian broadcasters.

Non-Estonain's trust for western and Ukrainian channels has risen since the end of February.

Trust in public institutions

Confidence in state institutions remained at the same level in April.

The government is trusted by 60 percent (61 percent in March), the Riigikogu by 56 percent (no change), local governments by 69 percent (71 percent in March) and the president by 75 percent (74 percent in March).

74 percent of people were satisfied with their lives at the end of April compared to 76 percent at the end of March.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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