Survey: Will in population to defend Estonia remains high

Members of Estonia's volunteer Defence League during an exercise. Image is illustrative
Members of Estonia's volunteer Defence League during an exercise. Image is illustrative Source:

A survey carried out for the Ministry of Defence in October 2018 indicates that the will of Estonia's residents to defend their country remains high. Some 60% of the population are ready to join activities contributing to national defence, the survey brought out.

Armed resistance as a reaction to an enemy attack is an option for 79% of the Estonian population according to the survey, with as many saying that they would consider such action "definitely necessary" or "necessary". Although the share of Estonian speakers is still higher than that of speakers of other languages, the gap seems to be closing at 51 compared to 42%.

The survey also states that 60% of residents are ready to take part in activities connected with national defence. In detail, 77% of Estonia's male residents and 57% of Estonia's Russian speakers are ready to do so.

"As minister of defence I greatly appreciate the high defence will of the Estonian people and the readiness to defend our country," Minister of Defence Jüri Luik (Pro Patria) said according to a ministry news release. "It's also nice to see that there is trust in how national defence is set up, and in our allies and NATO's activities," Luik added.

Respondents think that the biggest threats facing Estonia in the near future are cyberattacks (67% of respondents), fake news and disinformation (65%) and meddling in Estonian politics or the local economy (58%).

Should Estonia be attacked, the share of residents who would consider leaving is some 20%. Those most likely to leave are women as well as younger people, the survey suggests.

The trends highlighted by the survey weren't only positive, as it also found that Estonians' knowledge of how to act in times of crisis is low and is decreasing further. The share in the population of those who state that they know what to do is a mere 20%.

The survey was carried out by pollster Turu-uuringute AS in October this year.

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Editor: Dario Cavegn

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