Commentary Survey

Youth in Central Europe look for strong leadership

Youth in Central-Eastern Europe are looking for authority to lead them, according to a recent survey conducted by Polish Cardinal Stefan Wyszyński University (UKSW). Young people are more likely to choose “security” over “freedom”.

The “Totalitarianism in the postmodernist epoch” report presents a picture of a youth isolated, alienated and left without social support. Although they are not interested in politics, they are more likely to be Right wing. They are pessimistic and afraid of an influx of immigrants and terrorists. They miss strong and charismatic leadership. This makes them more likely to look to and support pre-totalitarian postulates.

More than 3,000 people participated

The survey, financed by European Network Remembrance and Solidarity (ENRS) was carried out on 3,117 young people aged 18-24 in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Hungary. The aim was to find out “how many respondents were immune to totalitarian temptation in its postmodernist version,” reads the introduction to the report.

According to the report, although the majority of young people have political views aligned with the Center, Germany and Austria are more inclined towards the Left. Poles, Romanians and Slovaks are among those most inclined towards the Right.

Although a negative evaluation of democracy itself happens rarely (Slovakia was most common with 21.6 percent of respondents claiming so), 41.6 percent Slovaks, 40.1 percent Romanians, 31.9 percent Germans and 30 percent of Poles claimed that there may be a time and place, where resigning from democracy and freedom may be necessary. 

An example of such a threatening situation, according to about half of the respondents, is the threat of terrorism.

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