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Russians and Ukrainians are upbeat about reunited Germany

Twenty years after reunification, how is Germany viewed by Russia and Ukraine? A representative study commissioned by Deutsche Welle answered this question, and more.

flags of russia and germany

Just a tiny percentage of Russians feel a united Germany poses a threat

Nearly half of the Russian population (48 percent) sees the reunited Germany as being a country just like any other in Europe. That was one result of a recent Deutsche Welle survey, carried out by market research company IFAK in Russia and Ukraine in early September, 2010.

Some 31 percent of Russians saw modern-day Germany as being a country that is on friendly terms with Russia, while 9 percent considered it to be a reliable partner. Only 1 percent of those asked felt that a united Germany posed a danger to Russia.

pie chart showing results of poll

The poll also looked at the situation in Ukraine, where the results were similar. While 3 percent of respondents said they felt Germany was a threat to their country, 13 percent said they considered Germany to be a partner. And 20 percent labeled Germany a "friend" of Ukraine. Like in Russia, most of the respondents (57 percent) saw united Germany as being a country just like any other in Europe.

pie chart showing poll results

Relationship to Germany and the EU

Russians see their country's relations Germany and the EU in a positive light, with the majority saying the countries have a friendly relationship.

Asked how they would label the Russian relationship to Germany, 56 percent of respondents called it "friendly or very friendly." Slightly lower - although still high at 35 percent - was the percentage of Russians who saw their country's relationship to the European Union as being friendly or very friendly.

In Ukraine, a full 42 percent of respondents said they felt the relationship between their country and Germany was friendly or very friendly, while only 37 percent said the same about their relationship with the EU - a minority response in both cases.

German support for Russia and Ukraine

When Russians were asked which EU country did the most on behalf of their interests, Germany was the first country named (21 percent,) followed by France (15 percent) and Poland (6 percent.)

Interestingly, Ukrainians responded very differently. When asked which European country did the most to work on behalf of its interests in the EU, 33 percent of respondents named Poland. Germany came in at a distant second place, with 19 percent of responses.

When polled as to which German chancellor had done the most to improve bilateral relations in the past 20 years since reunification, most Russian and Ukrainian respondents - 52 and 48 percent respectively - could not, or would not, name anyone.

Of the three German chancellors that have held office since reunification, Angela Merkel was most frequently cited by Russians as being the chancellor who has done the most to improve German-Russian relations (25 percent.) Ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl, in office during reunification, received 17 percent, and Gerhard Schroeder 6 percent of respondents.

In Ukraine, too, Angela Merkel was most often named as the politician who did the most to improve bilateral relations (30 percent.) Ex-Chancellors Gerhard Schroeder and Helmut Kohl each were named by 11 percent of respondents.

Research methodology

In both Russia and Ukraine, 1000 people at 35 different, representative sample points across each country, were questioned between Sept. 1 and Sept. 13, 2010. Respondents represented the respective population structures in Russia and Ukraine.

Authors: Ingo Mannteufel, Bernd Johann, Markian Ostaptschuk (jen)
Editor: Rob Mudge

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