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International Cooperation

An online discussion will take place on 29 September at 16:00 as part of the project Factors and Actors Contributing to the Willingness to Defend One’s Own Country: the Case of Latvia, Lithuania and Taiwan. The implementers of the project from Latvia, Lithuania, and Taiwan will summarise and analyse the results of their research to date. Rīga Stradiņš University (RSU), Vilnius University, and the Institute of Political Science at Academia Sinica from Taiwan are involved in the international project which began at the beginning of this year and will go on for three years. It is coordinated and managed by the RSU Department of Political Sciences in cooperation with the China Studies Centre.

The aim of the project is to ascertain the real willingness of the population to defend their country, the similarities and differences of opinions, and factors influencing this willingness.

Project Manager, Associate Professor Māris Andžāns, explains that sociological surveys were conducted in all three countries. The data from these shows that, contrary to expectations, the desire and readiness of our citizens to defend their country has not increased compared to previous years, for which surveys were conducted as part of other studies. The data also shows that this readiness is lower in Latvia than in Lithuania. However, the researcher emphasises that one should be careful to generalise data from just one survey.

The results also indicate the specificity of opinions in certain population groups. As Assoc. Prof. Andžāns explains, the willingness to defend the country is lower in Latgale and among Russian speakers. The survey also included questions on attitudes towards the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Soviet legacy, and conscription. The analysis of the results will show how the answers to these questions affect people’s readiness to defend their country.

Assoc. Prof. Andžāns further emphasises that the countries involved in the study have similarities in their geopolitics, as Latvia and Lithuania face security risks from neighbouring Russia, but Taiwan from China, which considers Taiwan as its territory. Moreover, Russia and China consider themselves to be strategic partners.

The research results will also have practical importance, as they will be presented to the Ministry of Defence of Latvia and other institutions related to national security that need these results to make research-based decisions. The project is funded by the Latvia-Lithuania-Taiwan joint fund for Scientific Cooperation.