Published on January 11, 2009
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Survey # 4 A New Cold War in South Ossetia … what about Young Europeans? Main Results Report September 2008 0|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Aim of the study Our 4th Survey of 2008 aimed at researching how young Europeans lived the military events of autumn 2008 in South Ossetia (mainly an armed conflict between Russia and Georgia), possibly being them a reflection of past conflicts and troubles happened in the XX century in Eastern Europe. We have asked our respondents who they believed were the main responsible both in having induced the conflict and to be involved for solving it, in order to ensure the global political and economical balance. Moreover, we tried to investigate how European Union was seen as a role player in the event, since this has been a good occasion for showing and assessing its political and economical influencing power, especially between U.S.A. and Russia. The survey Our survey was launched on October 16th and was closed on November 16th . The questionnaire was launched on line, placed on our web portal (www.thinkyoung.eu) and spread via e-mail among our community. The sample The sample of respondents is composed by over 100 respondents, equally distributed among men and women, coming from 19 over 27 EU countries reached by our e-mail sending (Albania, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey and United Kingdom). Age distribution is showed by the graph reported below, showing an interesting concentration between 18 and 30 years old, being individuals of these ages the main target of our Think Tank. 1|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Figure 1: age distribution of the sample; years Main results of the Survey 1. Level of information and interest about the topic As the graphs below evidently show, the level of information and interest is not sensibly high among the individuals of our sample: every one declares to be informed about the conflict, but 60% declares to be fairly informed. Countries with the highest level of information are Austria, Slovenia and Turkey. This figure is mirrored by the level of interest in the topic: more than 80% of the sample declares to be fairly interested, thinking that the conflict will not have any impact in citizens’ personal lives; respondents showing a higher interest are only 13% of the sample and are represented by Portugal, Romania and Slovenia. 2|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Figure 2: level of information about South Ossetia War Figure 3: level of interest in South Ossetia war 3|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War 2. Causes of the crisis Looking at the causes of the conflict, as the graph below shows, only 4% of respondents believe in the Cultural motives, whilst around 1/4 attributes the responsibility to Russian political hunger and another 1/4 to a military hunger of the same Country. Economical causes are considered to be the most influencing by the largest part of respondents, who think that Russia’s hunger for natural resources (like oil and natural gas mined in the Caucasus area) has been able to move weapons and soldiers against Georgia. Figure 4: causes of the conflict This last figure seems to be linked with another important question, mainly regarding the personal and psychological way of living the conflict of our respondents: in fact, as you can see from the following graph, almost 80% of the sample thinks that the event has nothing to do with the old “Cold War”, not depending on political/ military power ideologies but rather on economical strategies, ruled by the hunger of natural resources monopoly. 4|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Figure 5: could this be defined as a “New Cold War”? 3. Possible responsible for the conflict In spite of the fact that the largest part of respondents believe that causes of the conflict have economical roots, when asked about which institution should intervene to solve the situation, almost 1/2 of the sample answers indicating United Nations; only 10% of the sample indicates the role of G8 as a responsible player, even if it is this insititutions that could maybe have more to say about the distribution of strategic economical resources among its member States (Figure n. 7). Otherwise, it seems very interesting to see that more that 1/5 of respondents indicates European Union as the main institution having the responsibility to intevene in the conflict. In fact, this belief is mirrored by the results of our last question, about who would be the biggest loser, according to our Young Thinkers: as Figure n. 8 shows, almost 1/5 of the sample believes that the conflict will result in a losing game for EU, failing to reach its main goal of spreading stability, even if outside its borders. Russia and U.S. still seem to be considered as stable powers, not much influenced by a conflict in which they are actually involved; finally, Georgia, as a weak player on the international policy table, is considered to be the biggest loser of all, the real victim of this conflict. 5|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Figure 6: who should intervene to solve the conflict? Figure 7: who will be the biggest loser of the conflict? 6|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Conclusions As a conclusion, it is very interesting to look at results shown in the following graph: these can be considered as a confirmation of the opinions previously seen about the role of EU in the conflict; in fact, a relevant part of the sample thinks that EU should intervene but that it could also result as the biggest loser of the conflict: we could find the reason of these beliefs in considering that almost 70% of our Young Thinkers actually see in the EU attitude towards the conflict the reflection of the division among its member States. As a consequence, we could easily think that, according to our sample, EU should solve its internal problems in order to be more influencing and more present on the international policy scenario, where it is actually asked to be more present and active. Therefore, even in conflicts that are fairly far away from EU citizens lives, Young people would like to see EU active as a decisive role player: its role should go over the borders and share its stability and peace ideals outside, to create a stable global and prolific environment from which it could easily benefit. Figure 8: does the crisis emphasize the EU international weakness? 7|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War The survey 1. How informed do you feel about the South Ossetia war escalated in mid-August? I am very well informed. I look for information about it. I am fairly informed, I read and listen to information if I have the chance I am not very well informed, I get information from other people I am not informed about it 2. How sensitive and interested are you with the South Ossetia war? I am very interested because it’s a warning signal: its consequences will change global balance and the relation between Moscow and the West I am fairly interested: I hope actions will be taken very soon by politicians. Anyway I don’t think it could impact on my life I am not interested about it: there are other current events more important then this. 3. What do you think are the real cause of South Ossetia war? Economics causes: Russia would have the monopoly of control over strategic raw materials (like oil and natural gas) mined in Caucasus area Military causes: Russia would prevent USA from bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO and building a space shield in Europe Political causes: Russia would show his newfound strength. It will become again fanatically patriotic and aggressive at the time of USSR Cultural causes: South Ossetia would revenge his independence from Georgia as like Abkhazia 4. In your personal opinion, who should intervene in order to ensure peace and security will take place in South Ossetia region ? 8|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War UN European Parliament NATO Any single country G8 US 5. The European Union’s foreign policy is notoriously weak and fraught by member state divisions. Do you think the Georgia-Russia crisis emphasized this weakness? Yes, it still reflects the division among European Member States No, Europe is making good efforts in pursuing a common Foreign Policy 6. quot;During the conflict there were much talk about a “new cold war”. In your opinion, this term is: Right because of it brings back to the post-World War II memories: the division between the communist block and the “free world” Wrong because of the different cause-nature of the conflict. It does not depend on soviet ideology but rather on international policy 7. In your opinion who is the biggest loser of this crisis ? Georgia because of its Thousands of Refugees From the Conflict EU failing to reach its goals: spread stability US because of its incapacity to control its “ally” and to answer to Russian aggressive policies Russia because suffers capital out flow, and had damaged its credibility reliability as a partner within the international system 9|Page www.thinkgyoung.eu
Survey # 4 – A new Cold War Contacts For receiving more information about this Survey and about Think Young researches and activities, please, contact us at: Think Young – the Think tank made in EUth http://www.thinkyoung.eu firstname.lastname@example.org 10 | P a g e www.thinkgyoung.eu
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