“The Russian invasion of Ukraine has been a shock to most people. And a surprise for military experts as well. Although she was approaching her, most people thought that Putin was bluffing, “said List of Reports, one of the authors of the research, Martina Klicperová from the Institute of Psychology of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
For the younger generation, she said, “such a large-scale frontal attack was unthinkable” and “something like entering a computer game,” while for the older generation it was “a reminder of the invasion we experienced firsthand in August 1968.”
The motivation for the research was clear, and one of the first questions Klicper and her colleagues at Masaryk University were about the impact of the invasion on cultural orientation.
How the invasion brought the Czechs closer to a democratic Europe
“It simply came to our notice then. We considered it a few months before the invasion (in connection with the research on attitudes to vaccination and the covid-19 pandemic), and thus offered us the opportunity to detect a possible change, “said Klicperová, who expected people to belong to the East after the invasion. will decrease. Surprisingly, this did not happen, but on the other hand, identification with a democratic Europe increased significantly. You can see the development before and after in detail in the following chart.
Increasing belonging to a democratic Europe did not necessarily mean reducing belonging to the East technically, because questions about cultural identity were asked independently of each other, so that each respondent could state belonging to multiple cultural orientations at once.
“Perhaps this is also because both rival parties are the East, and the move away from Russia was offset by a move toward Ukraine,” Klicper said, perhaps why the move to democracy and Europeanism was not accompanied by a move away from the East.
The fact that the greater inclination towards a democratic Europe was really due to the Russian invasion and is not just a coincidence, the scientists were convinced by an additional survey conducted only last week. According to Klicper, the respondents had the opportunity to formulate their answers themselves, which looked like this: “I have always felt part of a democratic Europe and the invasion has deepened my position even more.”
He did not dominate fear, but admiration, compassion and anger
In addition to cultural orientation and identity, psychologists were interested in the emotions that the invasion aroused in the respondents. According to the press release, one of the main goals was to verify whether the list of the strongest emotions includes a high experience of fear, because “it was he who got into the headlines soon after the invasion” and there was a lot of talk about how Czechs are afraid.
“Respondents commented on a dozen emotions, half negative and half positive. There were also certain hypotheses behind the choice, such as whether anger would be stronger than fear – and this was confirmed, “said Klicperová.
The results showed that even positive emotions were at the forefront. Specifically, it was compassion and admiration for the courage of the Ukrainians (with an average of 5 to 6 points on a seven-point scale), followed by the aforementioned anger, until there was fear two places behind it.
“Compassion was felt very often and strongly by 44% of respondents, and two percent did not feel it at all. Admiration for courage was felt very often and strongly by 42% and not five percent at all. More than a third of Czechs (34%) felt anger very often and strongly, and six percent did not feel it at all, “said the psychologist.
According to her, less than a quarter of respondents (24.7%) felt fear very strongly, and five percent completely ruled it out. This means that in addition to the above, he was overtaken by helplessness and so-called living interest in the ranking of the strongest emotions (which means a generally strong experience of various emotions).
Emotions correlated with the preferred type of help
Respondents strongly agreed that Ukraine needed help. But as the following chart shows, there were differing ideas about what kind of help was ideal.
The respondents’ preferred types of assistance correlated with their emotions: “The survey showed that admiration for courage and lively interest are the most motivating arms deliveries, while compassion and fear correlate with humanitarian aid rather than arms supply,” the press release said.
Psychologists also tried to find out what a specific group of people opposed to aid in the form of arms supplies. According to Klicper, they first sought to correlate with factors they thought would be important, such as religion, gender, or left-wing political orientation.
In the end, however, the results showed that there were more people in this group “with less education, less faith in democracy, preferences of political parties such as Tomia Okamura’s SPD or KSČM, a higher tendency to hoaxes and a certain nonconformity to the system”, which psychologists say the same signs as in a previous survey of people who did not want to be vaccinated against covid-19.
Regarding the involvement of the respondents themselves in helping Ukraine, 46% said they had sent a financial contribution, 25% had helped with various activities such as volunteering, donations, etc., 6% had taken part in a demonstration and 2.6% had written in relation to Ukraine. a letter to a politician or to the media.
Relations with the Russians and Ukrainians have changed as expected
To examine the changes in attitudes in Czech society after the invasion, the researchers also used data from a survey of their relationship to various ethnic groups, which they coincidentally conducted on the same sample of respondents in early February.
The Russians of the five nationalities asked by the researchers had already taken the final place before the invasion. In addition to the Czech, Slovak, German and Ukrainian nations, respondents most often called them unsympathetic and least often sympathetic. At the same time, the Ukrainians did little better at the beginning of February.
After the invasion, the popularity of the Russians decreased slightly and the Ukrainians, on the contrary, moved one place higher than the Germans.
The survey was based on data collected between March 4 and 14 on a sample of 1,022 respondents selected in cooperation with the Median agency.