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Friday 21.02.2020 | Name days: Eleonora, Ariadne

Latvian residents trust National Armed Forces the most and the Saeima the least

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Latvia, NBS, army, defence, respondentsLatvia’s residents trust the country’s National Armed Forces (NBS) and the president the most and the Saeima the least, according to the survey performed by Latvian National Security Academy’s Security and Strategic Research Centre.

The survey focuses on the correlation between trust in institutions and the desire to defend the country. Aside from state institutions and municipalities, the survey also analysed the trust in NBS, because the survey about the factors that dictate the will of Baltic States residents to defend their country fund that aside from national pride other important factors include political trust and trust in armed forces.

The highest level of trust among institutions included in the survey is noted for NBS, which is trusted by 63% of respondents. According to researchers, it is important to pay attention to significant differences among ethnic groups, because armed forces are trusted by 78% of respondents whose families use Latvian language to communicate and only 34% of respondents whose families use Russian language.

Considering the trust in armed forces affects the will to defend the country, it is possible it is one of the reasons that explain why the will to defend the country is lower among representatives of national minorities in Latvia, the survey mentions.

«However, the question as to why national minorities living in Latvia have such a low trust in NBS remains unanswered. To answer this question, we need an in-depth look at what is reported about Latvia’s armed forces in the Russian information space and how relations are formed with national minorities in Latvia. However, these matters are outside this study’s range,» authors mention.

Similar trends are observed for the level of trust in the state president, who is trusted by 52% of respondents. However, even among these people the level of trust among Latvian-speaking respondents is nearly two times higher than the level of trust among Russian-speaking respondents – 60% against 34%.

Half of respondents admit trusting their municipality. Here there is no significant difference among respondents of different ethnic groups.

Analysis of all institutions included in the survey shows that respondents who use Russian language to communicate in their family trust municipalities the most. Reasons for this trust are revealed by information acquired in interviews, which points to how municipal politicians are mentioned as people the closest to residents, making them more easily reachable and that the fruits of their labour are more visible in a city environment, researchers say.

The trust towards the government and the parliament is generally lower – 30% and 27%.

The survey also measured the level of trust to different institutions during situation of crisis. Results show that 94% of respondents trust their family and friends, 81% trust the State Fire and Rescue Service, 70% trust the State Police, 68% trust National Armed Forces and 64% trust the National Guard.

Analysis of results for ethnic standpoint reveals that in the group of respondents that uses Latvian language to communicate with their family 81% trust NBS, 79% trust the National Guard, 85% trust the State Fire and Rescue Service, and 81% trust the police. In the group of respondents who use Russian language to communicate in their family only 42% trust NBS and 33% trust the National Guard.

The study also reveals that in a crisis situation trust to government structures and municipalities would be significantly below the level of trust towards the armed forces – 44% and 49% respectively. There was no significant difference in answers ethnicity-wise.

As previously reported, only 31% of Latvian residents  would be prepared to defend Latvia with weapons in arms in the event of a military aggression. An even larger number of residents would be prepared to defend the country in a non-military way, the survey mentions.

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