This large-scale study of the opinions and attitudes of Russian-speaking young people in Estonia was conducted by undertaking an anonymous survey among nearly 2,800 young adults aged 16 to 20 in Harju County and Ida-Viru County. The study investigates several broad subject areas: personal values and reference points, media consumption, geopolitics and present-day conflicts, and national defence and internal security. The primary reason for the study focusing on Russian-speaking young people in Estonia lay in the group’s vulnerability to the influence of hostile information and the potential use of this group as a target of hostile external influence.
Summarising the results of the analysis, it can be concluded that Russian-speaking young adults in Estonia are, in general, not sufficiently informed about the key issues of security and national defence policy. The results of the survey suggest that the majority of them have a fragmented understanding of national security, in which there is a cognitive distinction between such notions as conscription, potential threats, guarantors of Estonia’s security, the Estonian Defence Forces and their functions, military allies and NATO, current conflicts, and Russia’s geopolitical undertakings.
Dmitri Teperik and Grigori Senkiv