Institute of Public Affairs, Bertelsmann Stiftung (ed.)

Close together or far apart?

Poles, Germans and Russians on the Russia-Ukraine Crisis

  • 1. edition 2015 (PDF)
  • Free of charge

Eastern policy has for many years been a complicated and emotionally charged issue in Polish-German relations. A frequent claim made in public debates on this issue is that the two countries are once more divided in their views. However, the results of a survey conducted simultaneously by the Institute of Public Affairs and the Bertelsmann Stiftung in Poland and Germany reveal that Poles and Germans hold basically similar views on issues connected with the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Although differences between them are visible, the two countries are closer to each other in their opinions on Russia than many Polish and German commentators assume. Poles and Germans share the same negative assessment of the state of their countries' relations with Russia.

Also both publics support EU sanctions. Moreover, they are willing to support Ukraine economically but would not like to see further deterioration of relations with Russia. As for Russians, they also regard their country’s relations with Poland and Germany as bad. Despite the fact that they view the conflict from a completely different perspective than Poles and Germans, a clear majority of Russians do not support any military engagement of Russia on the side of the separatists in eastern Ukraine.