United West, divided from the remaining: Global public opinion one 12 months into Russia’s battle on Ukraine

United West, divided from the remaining: Global public opinion one 12 months into Russia’s battle on Ukraine


  • A brand new ballot means that Russia’s battle on Ukraine has consolidated ‘the West;’ European and American residents maintain many views in widespread about main international questions.
  • Europeans and Americans agree they need to assist Ukraine to win, that Russia is their avowed adversary, and that the approaching international order will most definitely be outlined by two blocs led respectively by the US and China.
  • In distinction, residents in China, India, and Turkiye choose a fast finish to the battle even when Ukraine has to concede territory.
  • People in these non-Western international locations, and in Russia, additionally take into account the emergence of a multipolar world order to be extra possible than a bipolar association.
  • Western decision-makers ought to keep in mind that the consolidation of the West is going down in an more and more divided post-Western world; and that rising powers reminiscent of India and Turkiye will act on their very own phrases and resist being caught in a battle between America and China.


A 12 months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, there may be little doubt the battle is a turning level in world historical past. The battle has challenged Europeans’ most elementary assumptions about their safety, introduced the spectre of nuclear confrontation again to their continent, and disrupted the worldwide financial system, leaving vitality and meals crises in its wake.

Yet whereas Russia’s aggression is an occasion of worldwide significance, individuals in numerous components of the world have skilled and interpreted it in numerous methods. According to a former nationwide safety adviser to the prime minister of India, “for a lot of components of the globe, a 12 months of battle in Ukraine has accomplished much less to redefine the world order than to set it additional adrift, elevating new questions on how pressing transnational challenges could be met.” In distinction to opinion within the West, individuals in lots of non-Western international locations seem to imagine that the post-cold battle period is completed. They don’t anticipate the subsequent worldwide order to be characterised by polarisation between two blocs led by the United States and China; as a substitute, they see as extra possible a fragmentation right into a multipolar world.

The key findings of a brand new multi-country international ballot point out that, a 12 months since Russia’s battle on Ukraine started, the US and its European allies have regained their unity and sense of objective. But the examine additionally reveals a large hole between the West and the ‘relaxation’ in terms of their desired outcomes for the battle and differing understandings of why the US and Europe assist Ukraine. The ballot befell in December 2022 and January 2023 in 9 EU international locations and Great Britain, and in China, India, Turkiye, Russia, and the US (the CITRUS international locations, to make use of the shorthand of the University of Oxford’s Europe in a Changing World undertaking). Its outcomes counsel that Russia’s aggression in Ukraine marks each the consolidation of the West and the emergence of the long-heralded post-Western worldwide order.

Stop the battle v win the battle

The new consensus amongst European governments is that solely a Ukrainian victory will cease Putin’s battle. Although important numbers of European residents nonetheless want the battle to stop as quickly as potential, the ballot seems to indicate a clear trend during the last 12 months in the direction of preferring Ukraine to win even when the battle endures a while longer. Americans equally imagine that Ukraine should regain its territory if lasting peace is to be secured.

In distinction, individuals in non-Western international locations possess a transparent choice for the battle to finish now – even when it means Ukraine having to surrender territory. In China, a plurality of these requested (42 per cent) agree that the battle between Russia and Ukraine must cease as quickly as potential, even when it means Ukraine giving management of areas of its territory to Russia. This need to finish the battle quickly is even stronger in Turkiye (48 per cent) and India (54 per cent). It is price noting, nevertheless, that just about a 3rd of individuals in each these international locations would like Ukraine to regain all of its territory, even when it means an extended battle or extra Ukrainians being killed and displaced.

Reflecting on the battle, Americans and Europeans are united in believing that Russia is an “adversary” or a “rival.” Seventy-one per cent of respondents within the US, 77 per cent in Great Britain, and 65 per cent within the EU international locations polled alight on one in every of these two phrases; they regard the way forward for relations with Russia as one in every of confrontation.

Which best reflects your view on what Russia is to your country?

The rising hostility of Europeans in the direction of Russia is mirrored of their choice to not purchase Russian fossil fuels even when it leads to vitality provide issues. This is the prevailing view in each one of many 9 EU international locations polled, with a median of 55 per cent of those EU residents supporting it. By distinction, simply 24 per cent favour securing unobstructed vitality provides by persevering with to purchase from Russia.

What approach should your country take to buying energy from Russia?

Don’t make all of it about democracy

The non-Western publics studied differ from the Western publics not solely within the outcomes they need for the battle however in what they give thought to why the US and Europe are serving to Ukraine.

President Joe Biden has framed the battle as a battle between democracy and authoritarianism, and he has sought to make use of the defence of democracy as a rallying cry at house and overseas. In the US, the language of management of “the free world” has returned.

While Western figures might depict the battle in these methods to unify the West, it provides no sure-fire option to attraction to residents in non-Western international locations. On the opposite: within the view of many individuals outdoors the West, their very own international locations are additionally democracies – and are even perhaps the perfect democracies. When requested which nation comes closest to having a “actual democracy,” 77 per cent in China reply “China;” 57 per cent of Indians reply “India.” The responses are much less clear reduce in Russia and Turkiye, however, nonetheless, Turks’ most frequent response is their very own nation (36 per cent). The ballot finds that 20 per cent of Russians award the accolade to Russia, which can also be the highest substantive reply there. (However, nearly a 3rd of respondents in Russia didn’t choose any nation as having an actual democracy.)

Which of the following countries comes closest to having a real democracy?

Other leads to our ballot additional counsel that folks in China, India, and Turkiye are sceptical of claims about defending democracy.

Many in China state that American and European assist for Ukraine is pushed by the need to guard Western dominance. And for the overwhelming majority of Chinese and Turks, Western assist for Ukraine is motivated by causes aside from a defence of Ukraine’s territorial integrity or of its democracy.

Among the rising powers, India is an exception, the place (equally to the US) greater than half of respondents level to one in every of these two causes to elucidate Western solidarity. Still, the shortage of democracy in Russia doesn’t forestall Indians from holding a usually constructive view of that nation: 51 per cent describe it as an “ally” and an extra 29 per cent see it as a “companion.”

What do you think is the main reason the United States stands behind Ukraine?

What do you think is the main reason Europe stands behind Ukraine?

The survey reveals that Vladimir Putin’s battle of outright aggression, and his army failures through the battle, don’t seem to have prompted individuals in non-Western international locations to downgrade their opinion of Russia or to query its relative energy. Russia is both an “ally” or a “companion” for 79 per cent of individuals in China and 69 per cent in Turkiye. Moreover, round three-quarters in every of those two international locations and in India imagine that Russia is both stronger, or no less than equally robust, in comparison with how they are saying they perceived it earlier than the battle.

Does the current conflict between Russia and Ukraine make you think Russia is stronger or weaker than you had previously thought?

Fragmentation v polarisation: What will outline the subsequent world order?

One of probably the most hanging findings of the survey pertains to differing concepts in regards to the future world order. Most individuals each inside and past the West imagine the US-led liberal order is passing away.

In paradoxical manner, the West’s new-found unity in response to Russia’s aggression doesn’t sign a resurrection of an America-led worldwide order. Just 9 per cent of individuals within the US, 7 per cent within the EU international locations polled, and 4 per cent in Great Britain see American international supremacy because the most definitely state of affairs in a decade from now.

Instead, in Europe and America, the prevailing view is that bipolarity is coming again. A major variety of individuals anticipate a world dominated by two blocs led by the US and China. Memories of the chilly battle possible form the best way that Americans and Europeans view the long run.

In ten years from now, which of the following do you think is more likely?

Meanwhile, outdoors the West, residents imagine that fragmentation slightly than polarisation will mark the subsequent worldwide order. Most individuals in main non-Western international locations reminiscent of China, India, Turkiye, and Russia predict the West will quickly be only one international pole amongst a number of. The West should still be the strongest party nevertheless it won’t be hegemonic.

The hottest view in Russia and China is to anticipate a extra even distribution of worldwide energy amongst a number of international locations – specifically, for multipolarity to emerge. More than 20 per cent of Turks and Indians additionally anticipate this. This is although extra Indians foresee US dominance, whereas responses in Turkiye are nearly equally divided between anticipating American hegemony, Chinese hegemony, a bipolar world, and multipolarity.

All in all, for 61 per cent of individuals in Russia, 61 per cent in China, 51 per cent in Turkiye, and 48 per cent in India the long run world order will likely be outlined both by multipolarity or Chinese (or different non-Western) dominance. This view is shared within the US, Great Britain, and the EU states polled by, respectively, simply 37 per cent, 29 per cent, and 31 per cent of individuals.

India and Turkiye as (re)rising nice powers

In the kind of bipolar world state of affairs anticipated by Americans and Europeans, the position of nations reminiscent of India and Turkiye could also be as swing states that – nevertheless reluctantly – will likely be compelled to outline their loyalties and take sides.

But the ballot means that this isn’t how these international locations view themselves or their position within the coming worldwide order. In an more and more fragmented and polarised world, international locations reminiscent of India and Turkiye seem interested in free-floating sovereigntism – the place each battle between superpowers turns into a chance to say one’s relevance and capability to take sovereign choices.


India is an important international nation of this persuasion – and its residents appear to have a transparent notion of their nation’s place on this planet. Respondents to the ballot in India stand out in describing each the US (47 per cent) and Russia (51 per cent) as an “ally” – which is probably going partly as a result of, for them, China is both an “adversary” (39 per cent) or a “rival” (37 per cent). Perceptions of the European Union and Great Britain are additionally predominantly constructive: Indians see these as both an “ally” or “companion.”

India and others: mutual perceptions.

The majority of the Indian public perceives nearly each different energy – together with the US (70 per cent), Russia (63 per cent), China (53 per cent), the EU (67 per cent), Great Britain (63 per cent), and India itself (68 per cent) – as “stronger” than they are saying they thought earlier than Russia’s all-out battle on Ukraine. They are the one ones to carry such a view of the entire US, Russia, the EU, Great Britain, and their very own nation.

Indians seem to really feel constructive in regards to the future. Their primary responses when requested to explain their nation are that it’s “rising” (35 per cent), “robust” (28 per cent), and “peaceable” (18 per cent). Only a small proportion imagine it’s “declining” (8 per cent) or “weak” (7 per cent). By manner of comparability, 31 per cent of Americans and Britons characterise their very own nation as “declining.”

India can also be, as famous, the one CITRUS nation the place the prevailing opinion is that the US (28 per cent) and Europe (36 per cent) are principally supporting Ukraine to defend it as a democracy – this will replicate India’s sense of itself because the world’s largest democracy.


Closer to Europe, Turkiye sees itself as enjoying a job just like the one which India aspires to globally. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has used the battle to say his nation’s position as an inescapable participant in European politics. He has managed to be each an important provider of weapons to Ukraine and one in every of Russia’s most trusted financial companions.

The Turkish public has a comparable world view, seeing nearly everybody predominantly as a “companion,” whether or not it’s the US (51 per cent), China (47 per cent), Russia (55 per cent), or the EU (53 per cent). When it involves different populations’ perceptions of Turkiye, these views are reciprocated. Turkiye is taken into account principally as a “companion” in Russia (60 per cent), China (38 per cent), and India (39 per cent) – though a 3rd of Chinese and Indians describe the nation as a “rival” or an “adversary.”

In the West, individuals additionally principally see Turkiye as a “companion.” However, a strikingly excessive proportion of respondents within the US, Great Britain, and the EU – between 40 and 50 per cent – say they merely have no idea learn how to outline Turkiye. The purpose for this Western uncertainty most likely comes from Turkiye’s flaunting of its new sovereign international coverage whereas remaining, no less than on paper, a member of NATO.

Turkiye and others: mutual perceptions.

Conclusion: The paradox of Western unity and international disunity

During the Iraq battle of 2003, main European intellectuals reminiscent of Jacques Derrida and Jürgen Habermas tried to outline the EU’s political identification in distinction to that of the US. They celebrated Europe’s civilian energy as the last word counterpoint to America’s army may. In the final decade, and significantly following the Trump years within the US, notions of European sovereignty and strategic autonomy have as soon as once more moved to the guts of European debates. But the truth is that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine confirmed the renewed centrality of American energy to Europe – with billions of {dollars} spent sustaining the battle effort, which has sustained unity throughout the Atlantic on sanctions and diplomatic positions in the direction of Russia and given a brand new lease on life for Western-led establishments reminiscent of NATO and the G7.

This actuality has not gone unnoticed by international publics. The rising powers thought of on this examine typically view Europe and America as forming a part of a single West. Seventy-two per cent of individuals in Turkiye, 60 per cent in China, and 59 per cent in Russia see little distinction between EU and US insurance policies in the direction of their international locations (little question to the frustration of President Emmanuel Macron and different champions of European strategic autonomy). That being mentioned, as famous, some vital nuances nonetheless stay, significantly in terms of the standing of the US and Europe in India and China.

Do you think the EU's and the United States' policies towards your country are the same?

It is now clear that, opposite to the Kremlin’s expectations, the battle has consolidated the West, slightly than weakened it. If the danger of a transatlantic break up nonetheless exists, it comes from inside: a potential victory by Donald Trump within the American presidential election in 2024 might be extra threatening to Western unity than something that Russia has thus far been capable of muster.

The West could also be extra consolidated now, however it’s not essentially extra influential in international politics. The paradox is that this newfound unity is coinciding with the emergence of a post-Western world. The West has not disintegrated, however its consolidation has come at a second when different powers won’t merely do because it needs.

Are Western leaders and Western societies prepared for this new world? Our polling exhibits that many individuals within the West see the approaching worldwide order because the return of a chilly war-type bipolarity between West and East, between democracy and authoritarianism. In this context, decision-makers within the US and the EU might really feel inclined to view international locations reminiscent of India and Turkiye as swing states that may be cajoled into siding with the West.

But individuals in these international locations see themselves very in a different way: as rising nice powers which will aspect with the West on some points however not on others. In distinction to the times of the chilly battle, right this moment one’s main commerce companions should not often one’s safety companions. Even when the rising powers agree with the West, they are going to typically keep good relations with Russia and China. This can also be what Brazil is at present doing: President Lula speaks in favour of preserving his nation’s neutrality vis-à-vis Ukraine and Russia, to keep away from “any participation, even oblique,” whilst he accepts that Russia “was unsuitable” to invade its neighbour.

It may disappoint Europeans that governments and publics in locations reminiscent of India and Turkiye are likely to view Russia’s aggression by the prism of their nationwide curiosity slightly than common rules. But they shouldn’t be overly stunned. Many non-Western nations had their very own moments of disappointment in the best way that Western international locations have uncared for crises that had been existentially vital to those gamers. Talk of Western hypocrisy is most acutely seen within the differential remedy prolonged to refugees from Ukraine and Syria – however that’s simply the tip of the iceberg so far as many rising powers are involved.

In our view, the West could be effectively suggested to deal with India, Turkiye, Brazil, and different comparable powers as new sovereign topics of world historical past slightly than as objects to be dragooned onto the precise aspect of historical past. These international locations don’t characterize some new third bloc or pole in worldwide politics. They don’t share a typical ideology amongst themselves. Indeed, they typically have divergent or competing pursuits. They know they don’t have the worldwide affect of the US or China. But they’re definitely not content material to regulate to the whims and plans of the superpowers. And their publics assist such an strategy, as demonstrated, for example, by their reluctance to think about issues referring to Ukraine to be any of their enterprise. Rather than anticipating them to assist Western efforts to defend the fading post-cold battle order, we must be able to companion with them in constructing a brand new one.

Ukraine’s victory within the battle will likely be vital for the form of the subsequent European order. But it’s extremely unlikely to revive a US-led international liberal order. Instead, the West must reside, as one pole of a multipolar world, with hostile dictatorships reminiscent of China and Russia, but in addition with unbiased main powers reminiscent of India and Turkiye. This might find yourself being the most important geopolitical turning level revealed by the battle: that the consolidation of the West is going down in an more and more divided post-Western world. 


The polling and evaluation contained on this coverage transient is the results of a collaboration between the European Council on Foreign Relations and the Europe in a Changing World undertaking of the Dahrendorf Programme at St Antony’s College, University of Oxford.

This report relies on a public opinion ballot of grownup populations (aged 18 and over) carried out in late December 2022 and early January 2023 in ten European international locations (Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Romania, and Spain), and in 5 international locations outdoors Europe (China, India, Turkiye, Russia, and the United States). The complete variety of respondents was 19,765.

In Europe, the polls had been carried out for ECFR as a web-based survey by Datapraxis and YouGov in Denmark (1,064 respondents; 3-11 January), France (2,051; 3-12 January), Germany (2,017; 4-11 January), Great Britain (2,200; 4-10 January), Italy (1,599; 4-12 January), Poland (1,413; 3-20 January), Portugal (1,057; 4-12 January), Romania (1,003; 4-11 January), and Spain (1,013; 4-11 January); and thru Datapraxis and Norstat in Estonia (1,022; 18-24 January). In all European international locations the pattern was nationally consultant of primary demographics and previous vote. In the United Kingdom, the ballot didn’t cowl Northern Ireland, which is why the paper refers to Great Britain.

Outside Europe, the polls had been carried out by Gallup International Association (GIA) by unbiased native companions as a web-based survey within the US (1,074; on 17 January; by Distance/SurveyMonkey), China (1,024; 3-17 January; Distance/Dynata), and Turkiye (1,085; 3-19 January; Distance/Dynata); and thru face-to-face surveys in Russia (800; 26 December to 17 January: BeMedia Consultant) and India (1,343; 27 December-18 January; Convergent). The alternative of face-to-face surveys within the latter two international locations was directed by the tense inner political and social scenario in Russia and poor high quality of web in India’s smaller cities. In Turkiye and the US, the pattern was nationally consultant of primary demographics. In China, the ballot included panellists from Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou, and Shenzhen agglomerations solely. In Russia, solely cities of greater than 100,000 inhabitants had been coated. And in India, rural areas and tier-3 cities weren’t coated. Therefore, knowledge from China, Russia, and India needs to be thought of as consultant just for the inhabitants coated by the ballot. Last however not least, contemplating the ballot scope and questionnaire, the outcomes from Russia and China must be interpreted with warning, taking into account chance that some respondents might need felt constrained in expressing their opinions freely.

About the authors

Timothy Garton Ash is professor of European research on the University of Oxford and co-directs the Europe in a Changing World undertaking. His new e book, Homelands: A Personal History, is printed this spring.

Ivan Krastev is chair of the Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia, and a everlasting fellow on the Institute for Human Sciences, Vienna. He is the writer of Is It Tomorrow Yet?: Paradoxes of the Pandemic, amongst many different publications.

Mark Leonard is co-founder and director of the European Council on Foreign Relations. His new e book, The Age of Unpeace: How Connectivity Causes Conflict, was printed by Penguin in paperback on 2 June 2022. He additionally presents ECFR’s weekly “World in 30 Minutes” podcast.


This publication wouldn’t have been potential with out the extraordinary work of ECFR’s Unlock workforce. The authors would particularly prefer to thank Pawel Zerka and Gosia Piaskowska, who noticed a few of the most fascinating traits and carried out painstaking work on the info that underpin this report, in addition to Marlene Riedel and Nastassia Zenovich, who labored on visualising the info. Adam Harrison has been an admirable editor. Andreas Bock led on strategic media outreach whereas Lucie Haupenthal and Michel Seibriger had been essential in coordinating advocacy efforts. Susi Dennison, Josef Lolacher, and Anand Sundar made delicate and helpful solutions on the substance. The authors would additionally prefer to thank Paul Hilder and his workforce at Datapraxis for his or her affected person collaboration with us in growing and analysing the polling referred to within the report. Despite these many and diversified contributions, any errors stay the authors’ personal.

The European Council on Foreign Relations doesn’t take collective positions. ECFR publications solely characterize the views of their particular person authors.



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