(Washington Post/Monkey Cage) A new survey shows what citizens think about NATO — and what they would do if attacked.
Leaders in Finland and Sweden pushed ahead this week with plans to join the NATO alliance, yet another sign of continued anxiety that Russia’s war in Ukraine could spread to other European countries. This concern is readily apparent in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — three NATO members often referred to collectively as the Baltic states.
How do the Baltic nations view Russia? Although these countries are often portrayed as a bloc, our research suggests significant differences in opinions about national security issues, among and within the three countries. Our new survey found varying perceptions of the threat from Russia and views regarding NATO.
It’s a dangerous neighborhood
Like Ukraine, the Baltic states were part of the Soviet Union after Moscow annexed the three countries during World War II. Regaining independence during the collapse of the U.S.S.R., these three strategically vulnerable countries — they border Russia and are small in size and population — quickly sought membership in NATO and formally joined the alliance in 2004. The alliance established an air policing capability for the Baltics and later added ground troops to enhance defenses.
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Recommended: Ralph Clem and Erik Herron, “Rebuilding Ukraine: Pre-War Trends and Post-War Priorities Should Inform the Process,” PONARS Eurasia Policy Memo No. 768, April 2022.