The public opinion poll conducted this fall revealed that residents of Estonia have great appreciation for the Defence Forces and Defence League and continue to support conscript service as well as membership in NATO.
People in Estonia have the greatest trust in the Rescue Board and the police, at 95% and 82% respectively, followed by the Defence Forces and Defence League, at 75% and 71% respectively. Among Estonian speaking respondents the credibility of the Defence Forces has remained at 90% over the last decade, and trust in the Defence League has remained near 85% over the last five years.
“The will of the people regarding defence is high, with the most important prerequisite being that we are capable of actually defending our country with force, if necessary” said Minister of Defence Margus Tsahkna. “A strong defensive will, the spirit of the people and knowledge, along with actual military capability, serve as the greatest deterrent, ensuring that we will not be attacked. In Estonia, things are in order in respect to will, but this requires daily care. In addition to developing an independent defence capability, the presence of Allied Forces in Estonia next year will become even more topical, when the Allied Forces' battalion combat group arrives in Tapa.”
According to respondents, Estonia’s security situation over the next decade will be better than that of the world as a whole. Fifty-four per cent of respondents believed that the situation will remain the same or become more secure, with 29% believing that a decline in security would take place.
More than two-thirds of respondents believe that Estonia has successfully developed its national defence, with 81% of respondents believing that Estonia should preserve the system in which a professional Defence Force is combined with a reserve army comprised of soldiers having completed conscript service.
Ninety-two per cent of those questioned believe that conscript service is necessary, while 73% believe conscript service should also be completed by young men with minor health issues and 65% of respondents disapprove of the evading of conscript service. Seventy-five per cent support voluntary service by women and two per cent of respondents support gender neutral compulsory conscript service.
Estonia's membership in NATO was supported by 71% or respondents, with 68% supporting the presence of Allied Forces in Estonia. Sixty-five per cent of respondents believe that NATO would provide military aid to Estonia or that membership in the Alliance would prevent a military conflict entirely.
A public opinion poll on the topic of national defence was ordered by the Ministry of Defence and carried out in October of this year by Turu-uuringute AS, under the direction of Juhan Kivirähk, during which 1206 residents of Estonia over the age of 15 were questioned. This was the 40th survey within the framework of the public opinion monitoring series, which first began in January 2000.