While almost 90 percent of Estonians are in favour of NATO membership, only 32 percent of Russian-speaking residents support Estonia's membership in the alliance, a recent survey commissioned by the Ministry of Defence shows.
Results of the survey "Public Opinion and National Defence" show that in March of this year 71 percent of the Estonian population favoured Estonia's membership in NATO, with 41 percent definitely and 29 percent rather in favour. Altogether 19 percent of Estonian residents are against NATO membership, while 11 percent of the population have no preference.
While 89 percent of Estonians are in favor of NATO membership, the indicator for the Russian-speaking respondents is considerably lower, only 32 percent. A total of 48 percent of the Russian-speaking respondents are against Estonia belonging to NATO, and one fifth has no specific preference.
Russian-speaking respondents' support of Estonia's NATO membership has been low since March 2015 — just as it was after the Bronze Night in 2007, and the events of the Arab Spring in 2011.
Looking at the attitudes of different Russian-speaking population groups towards NATO membership, positive attitudes towards NATO depend on how well a person is integrated into Estonian society, and how well they speak the Estonian language.
Those who speak little Estonian or none at all, and non-Estonians without Estonian citizenship who are over 40 years of age have the most negative attitude towards NATO membership. However, more than half of respondents who are between 20 and 29 years of age, and those Russian-speaking respondents who have a good command of Estonian support Estonia's NATO membership.
A public opinion survey on the issue of national defence was commissioned by the Ministry of Defence and carried out in March this year by pollster Turu-uuringute AS. 1,209 residents of Estonia over the age of 15 were polled. This was the 43rd survey within the framework of a public opinion monitoring series that first began in January 2000.
Editor: Dario Cavegn