World's perception of Russia as threat diminishes due to war in Ukraine – poll

Monday, 12 February 2024

A survey conducted before the Munich Security Conference has revealed a lower perception of Russia's war against Ukraine as a major threat to the world, with almost all indicators related to Russia's war against Ukraine having dropped compared to the end of 2022.

The Munich Security Index survey gathers the views of respondents in 12 countries on 32 different risks to track trends over time.

These are representative samples of 1,000 people each from the G7 and BRICS countries, excluding Russia, with some questions also being asked in Ukraine. Data collection took place in late October and early November with the involvement of reputable sociological companies in these countries. The margin of error amounts to 3.1 percentage points.

In last year's survey, Russia remained the highest risk in five G7 countries, while now it is only down to the UK and Japan. The Germans now come 7th in terms of concern about the Russian threat, the French come 6th, and the Italians the 12th.

In general, the Russian threat was perceived as the most significant problem in the G7 countries in 2022, whereas it came in 4th place in the survey at the end of 2023.

Concerns about possible mass migration caused by armed conflict or climate change, as well as radical Islamist terrorism, have increased noticeably, especially in Europe and North America.

For example, in Germany and France, fears of migration and terrorism are now at the top of the list, while in Italy, they are next on the list after climate threats.

There has also been a significant increase in concerns about the threat from Iran among the G7 countries. 

Cyberattacks are seen as the biggest threat in the United States, followed by political polarisation in society and the threat from China.

Environmental and climate change indicators are among the top three threats in almost all countries.

In the BRICS countries, unlike the West, the perception of Russia and Iran has not changed, while the perception of China has improved.

Representatives of the Russian and Iranian governments, as well as the far right and the far left in Germany, were not invited to this year's Munich Security Conference.

Media reports suggest that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy may personally attend the Munich Security Conference.

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