- Hans Weber
- November 29, 2023
Czechs Express Doubts About National Defense Capabilities Despite Strong Commitment to Sovereignty
A recent survey conducted by the Centre for Public Opinion Research (CVVM) has shed light on the evolving perspectives of Czech citizens regarding their nation’s defense capabilities and sovereignty. The survey, conducted from late May to the end of July, involved 929 respondents aged 15 and older and revealed some notable trends in public opinion.
While the survey found that a significant majority of Czech citizens, approximately 84%, remain firmly committed to the idea of defending their state’s sovereignty at any cost, there has been a marked shift in confidence in the country’s defense abilities. Over half of the population, specifically 56%, now harbors doubts about the Czech Republic’s capacity to protect itself in the event of a conflict. This skepticism marks a significant change from the previous year when 40% of respondents expressed confidence in their country’s defense abilities, representing a notable 13-point increase.
The study’s authors attribute this shift in public sentiment to the recent Russian army’s invasion of Ukraine. In the spring of 2022, there was an eight-point surge in determination to protect the country’s sovereignty. However, the latest survey reveals a return to approximately 2020 levels of affirmative responses.
Interestingly, nearly half of the surveyed individuals do not consider the defense of the Czech Republic to be a top priority. They share the perspective that “superpowers ultimately determine the fate of a small country like ours.” This viewpoint has created a division within the Czech public, with an equally substantial portion of the population holding the opposing opinion that prioritizing national defense is crucial.
Another divisive issue highlighted by the survey is defense expenditures. While 46% of respondents view them as an unnecessary burden on the state budget, the remaining 50% do not share this sentiment. Notably, support for defense spending has increased compared to previous surveys, especially during the years from 2016 to 2022 when the prevailing sentiment regarded it as an undue fiscal burden.
In terms of the perception of the Czech Army, less than two-fifths of respondents believe it is on par with its Western counterparts, while 52% consider it less advanced. This finding suggests that current opinions on the Czech Army’s standing in comparison to Western nations are more critical than in the previous year.
In conclusion, the CVVM survey underscores the complex and evolving attitudes of Czech citizens regarding national defense and sovereignty. While a strong commitment to safeguarding the nation’s sovereignty remains, doubts about the country’s defense capabilities have increased, potentially influenced by recent geopolitical events. The survey’s findings also reveal divisions within the Czech public regarding the importance of defense priorities and expenditures, highlighting the need for continued dialogue and policy adjustments in this crucial area.
Article by Prague Forum