On June 23rd, 2015, the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMF), in association with the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS), organized a roundtable with Mr. Bruce Stokes, Director of Global Economic Attitudes at the Pew Research Center, and GMF Non-Resident Transatlantic Fellow, on “Public Perceptions on the Ukrainian Crisis”. Mr. Stokes’ presentation was based on the collaborative report recently published by the Pew Research Center on public opinion in Ukraine, Russia and eight NATO countries (see “NATO Publics Blame Russia for Ukrainian Crisis, but Reluctant to Provide Military Aid”). The presentation was discussed by Dr. Jan Joel Andersson and Dr. Nicu Popescu, senior analysts at the EUISS, and followed by an open debate with the audience. The event was introduced and moderated by Dr. Alexandra de Hoop Scheffer, Senior Transatlantic Fellow and director of the Paris office of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.
Mr. Stokes first showcased the key findings of the report, among which the reluctance of some NATO countries to use force in order to defend another NATO ally in the event of a military conflict with Russia, and the Russian growing nationalism and support in Putin’s foreign policy. Mr. Stokes also presented specific data about France, such as the sociological profile of respondents being supportive of sending economic aid to Ukraine or having positive views of Russia. The divided French perspective on the Ukrainian conflict was also discussed, as the majority of French respondents blamed Russia for the violence in Ukraine, while a significant part also blamed pro-Russian separatists in Ukraine or the Ukrainian government itself.
The debate with the participants focused on the implications of these results on the transatlantic foreign and security policy towards Russia, on the important political and/or geographical divisions within transatlantic countries on these issues, and on the reality of Putin’s support by the Russian population.
The event was attended by twenty French and European scholars and academics, as well as journalists and representatives of foreign embassies in Paris.