Poll reveals divergent opinions on Ukraine crisis among Lithuania’s ethnic groups

DELFI / Tomas Vinickas

Sixty-eight percent of Lithuanian-speakers in the country and 74 percent of non-Lithuanian-speakers follow domestic news once a day or more often, while 61 percent of Lithuanian-speakers and 73 percent of non-Lithuanian-speakers follow international news.

A poll carried out by the public opinion research centre Vilmorus, commissioned by the Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania (LRTK), shows that non-Lithuanian-speakers in the country prefer Russian media to get their news from.

Lithuanian-speakers read or hear about events in Ukraine and Russia, as well as Lithuania’s news, from local Lithuanian media. For instance, they mostly follow the Ukraine crisis on Lithuanian TV channels (national television LTV – 56 percent, other TV channels – 56 percent), from Lithuanian news websites – 31 percent, from the national radio LRT – 28 percent.

Non-Lithuanian-speakers, meanwhile, get their news on Ukraine from Russian TV channels first (58 percent) and only then from Lithuanian TV channels (LTV – 30 percent, other Lithuanian TV channels – 36 percent). Updates on events in Russia come mostly from Russian TV channels – 69 percent (LTV – 28 percent, other Lithuanian TV channels – 36 percent). Moreover, a large proportion of non-Lithuanian-speakers follow news about Lithuania on Russian TV channels (46 percent).

When asked which country or organisation was to be blamed for the conflict in Ukraine, Lithuanian and non-Lithuanian speakers in the country gave very different answers. The majority of Lithuanian-speakers (55 percent) believe that Russia is the guilty party, while only 16 percent among non-Lithuanian-speakers think so. Ten percent of Lithuanian-speakers said Ukraine was to blame for the situation, while among non-Lithuanian-speakers the proportion was 26 percent. Separatists of Donetsk and Luhansk were named as primary culprits by 18 percent of Lithuanian-speakers and 6 percent of non-Lithuanian-speakers.

Meanwhile, the Western powers (the United States of America and the European Union) were blamed by 7 percent and as many as 23 percent respectively.

Lithuanian-speakers make up 84.1 percent of the country’s 3-million-strong population. 6.6 percent are ethnic Poles and 5.8 percent, ethnic Russians.

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