A majority of Serbians blame the US and Nato for the war in Ukraine, while just over a quarter blame Russia, a poll from consumer data company Valicon looking at opinions across four former Yugoslav states shows.
The #Novanormalnost survey reveals a high level of concern about the war in Ukraine across the countries surveyed, but very different attitudes to who is to blame in Serbia compared to the respondents in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Croatia and Slovenia.
The poll showed that 60% of Serbian respondents blamed the US for the war and 51% blamed Nato, compared to only 26% who blamed Russia — just slightly more than the 24% each who thought Ukraine or the EU was to blame for the invasion. (Respondents were allowed to pick more than one culprit so the numbers add up to over 100.)
The Serbian government has condemned the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but with many Serbians sympathetic towards Russia, has so far resisted pressure to join western sanctions on Russia.
In Slovenia, by contrast, 71% of respondents said Russia was to blame, compared to 37% who blamed the US, 22% Nato and 17% Ukraine. The figures in fellow Nato member Croatia were similar, except that only 9% blamed Ukraine for the war.
In Bosnia, 60% of respondents thought Russia was mainly to blame and 40% the US. However, opinions differed depending on the location within Bosnia; in the Bosnian Federation 79% of respondents blamed Russia and just 30% the US. In Republika Srpska and the Brcko District, the figures were reversed, with 57% blaming the US and 30% Russia.
Serbians also tended to be a bit more optimistic about the situation, though in general there was a very worried mood across all four countries.
In Croatia 85% of respondents said they were concerned about the war, followed by 81% in Slovenia, 79% in Bosnia and 74% in Serbia. “In both Slovenia and Croatia, the level of concern is higher than ever at the time of the epidemic, in Bosnia and Herzegovina it is at the same level as at the beginning of the epidemic, and in Serbia it is slightly but not significantly lower,” noted the report.
Valicon also compiled an index of optimism, looking at the absolute difference in the shares between those who think that things are going better or much better and worse or much worse.
This index was extremely negative in Croatia and Slovenia at -84 and -83, respectively, -66 in Bosnia and -50 in Serbia. In Croatia and Slovenia, “pessimism is higher than ever at the time of the epidemic, while the public in the other two countries is less pessimistic than at the height of the epidemic,” Valicon said.
Specific concerns listed by respondents included the expansion of the war beyond the borders of Ukraine and rising prices. Another fear was radiation due to use of nuclear weapons or damage to reactors, as well as the refugee crisis.