Survey: Most Czechs perceive Russia as security threat

Vrbětice affair, protest at the Russian Embassy in Prague

Most Czechs perceive Russia as a security threat to the country, suggests a survey conducted by the Median agency for Czech Radio. The survey was carried out at the start of the week, shortly after government officials informed about the involvement of Russian military intelligence at a munitions depot in Moravia, which left two people dead.

To what extent does Russia pose a security threat to Czechia? That was one of the questions Median agency asked more than a thousand Czechs over the age of 18.
On a scale of 1 to 10 - where one means zero and ten means a huge threat - they rated the risk at 6.5. Over 40 percent of those asked perceive Russia as a serious threat and nearly a fifth as a huge threat.

According to Přemysl Čech, head of the Median agency, Russia is perceived as a security threat mainly by people from large cities or voters of the Civic Democratic Party.

Přemysl Čech | Photo: Tomáš Roček,  Czech Radio

“Some 25 percent of people who live in big cities said that Russia posed a huge threat to them. Among the voters of the Civic Democratic Party, 34 percent agreed with the statement, and among supporters of the former presidential candidate Jiří Drahoš, it was 26 percent.”

On the contrary, some 10 percent of respondents do not consider Russia a threat at all. A quarter of them are voters of the Communist Party and a fifth of them are over 60 years of age.

At the same time, respondents in this age group have the most pronounced attitudes towards Russia, both in the positive and negative sense, says Mr Čech.

The negative perception may be connected to the fact that many of them experienced first-hand the occupation of Czechoslovakia by the Soviet troops in 1968.

The Median agency also asked Czechs about their opinion on the government’s decision to exclude the Russian state corporation Rosatom from the Dukovany power plant tender.

Kremlin,  Moscow | Photo: Julie Mineeva,  Wikimedia Commons,  CC BY-SA 1.0

It was made in light of the recently released evidence tying Moscow to the 2014 blasts at a munitions depot in Vrbětice, which killed two people and caused damages to the tune of one billion crowns.

The survey suggests that a majority of Czechs support the government in this decision, says Přemysl Čech:

“The elimination of Rosatom is supported by the majority of respondents in the Median survey - a total of 65 percent. Most often they are people from big cities, with a university degree and voters of the Civic Democrats and the Pirate Party. Some 27 percent of the Czech population are against the exclusion. Among the voters of the Communist Party, it is 77 percent.”

The majority of those who are against the exclusion of Rosatom from the Dukovany tender do not perceive Russia as a threat, concludes the survey of the Median agency.