POLAND-RUSSIA. SOCIAL DIAGNOSIS 2013: report on public opinion research in Poland and Russia
How Poles see Russia, Russians and Polish-Russian relations? How Russians see Poland, Poles and Russian-Polish relations?
The Polish Centre for Polish-Russian Dialogue and Understanding has launched programme of regular public opinion research in Poland and Russia, to obtain reliable data about the attitudes held by Poles towards Russia and the Russians, and by Russians towards Poland and the Poles.
Our intention is to use the knowledge so obtained in the activities of both centres of dialogue and understanding, and also in our efforts to counter what we perceive as a deficit of knowledge by Poles about Russia and Russians about Poland, to disseminate information about both countries, and counter stereotyping and prejudice, which are still present in the two communities. We are convinced that the findings of our research will attract wider interest in both countries, inspire further studies into mutual relations, contribute to public debate about these relations, help optimise the conduct of both countries’ foreign policies, and that they may be used in developing commercial and investment strategies, thus helping to promote economic contacts. We want to monitor how public mood changes over time in the two countries, and in order to obtain comparable results we have opted to conduct our research in the same time, using the same methods and the same research tools. The regularity, synchronisation and methodological coherence impart to this research a truly exceptional character. Initiated in 2012, it will serve as reference for successive years’ studies, and therefore, in order to make our comparable data as accurate as possible, we decided to commission both qualitative and quantitative research.
The present report consists of two presentations of national research findings, delivered by reputed agencies present on the Polish and Russian markets, and these presentations are followed by comments and conclusions from a Polish expert and from his Russian colleague.
Polish comment on findings of Polish and Russian research by Łukasz Mazurkiewicz:
The findings of the research reveal fundamental differences in how Poles and Russians see the other nation. The following elements deserve special attention:
Poland and the Poles take relatively less space in Russians’ collective consciousness than the space taken in Poles’ consciousness by Russia and the Russians. The perception of Poland among Russians can be described as shallow and lacking distinctiveness. A very high percentage of the Russian participants in the study replied either “hard to say” or “nothing” to a question about associations elicited by Poland (49%), and answers from the remaining respondents were indistinctive and generalised.
Russian comment on findings of Russian and Polish research by Valery Fedorov
When analysing the attitude of the contemporary Russians towards Poland and the Poles, a host of different elements of social consciousness must be taken into account. These include: positions towards the outside world; historical reminiscences (fortunately, the history of two-way relations is full of events and developments which have made it to school textbooks); the personal experience of contacts, business/tourist travel and cooperation with Poles: familiarity with the other country’s culture, gained from literature, films, songs, fairy tales; and, last not least, a general awareness of what is going on globally and among immediate neighbours.