Over 80% of Estonia’s residents support armed resistance in case of an attack

According to a survey, commissioned by the Estonian ministry of defence, a total of 81% of Estonia’s residents consider it necessary to provide armed resistance in the event of an attack, and more than half support raising defence spending.

The results of the survey revealed that Estonian people’s will to defend and their belief that Estonia would be able to resist until the arrival of its allies has risen significantly in the wake of the Ukrainian war. There has also been a growing willingness to engage in defence activities and the conviction that armed resistance must be provided in the event of an attack.

“In general, we can say that the residents of Estonia both support and are personally ready to defend Estonia. We can be certain that we are ready to stand together and fight for Estonian freedom as firmly as we stood for freedom at the end of the eighties and beginning of the nineties,” the Estonian defence minister, Hanno Pevkur, said in a statement.

A whopping 81% of residents consider the offering of armed resistance to an attack to be possibly or definitely necessary (+9% compared with 2021). According to their abilities and skills, 66% of the population is prepared to possibly or definitely participate in defence activities (+9% compared with 2021).

Exercise Siil (Hedgehog) 2022. Photo by the Estonian Defence Forces.

Most Estonian residents in favour of NATO membership

Compared with last year, the belief that Estonia will be able to possibly or definitely defend itself until help from allies arrives has grown (60%, previously 49%). At the same time, the proportion of residents who do not consider it possible at all has also decreased significantly (from 13% to 7%).

Also, 80% of the population is in favour of NATO membership, and 69% of the population estimates that NATO has done enough to ensure Estonia’s security. 48% of the population also believes that if a conflict breaks out, NATO would provide direct military assistance to Estonia. 

In 2022, Estonians most commonly consider membership in NATO (70%, compared with 2021 +9%) to be the main security guarantee for the state of Estonia. In addition, 69% of the population believes soldiers from the NATO battlegroup stationed in Estonia make it safer to live in Estonia.

Over a half of the Estonian residents – 51% – are in favour of raising defence spending (31% in 2021). This year, the Estonian government has approved two additional packages to strengthen Estonia’s military defence in the amount of €816 million. Defence spending represents 2.3% of the GDP this year.

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