- Print This Post Print This Post

By John Helmer, Moscow

Two Englishmen, Timothy Garton Ash (lead image, left) and Mark Leonard (right),  and Ivan Krastev (centre), a Bulgarian, claim to have discovered from opinion polls they conducted in nine European Union (EU) countries during January that “since Russia’s war on Ukraine began, the US and its European allies have regained their unity and sense of purpose…Russia’s aggression in Ukraine marks both the consolidation of the West and the emergence of the long-heralded post-Western international order.”

“The growing hostility of Europeans towards Russia is reflected in their preference not to buy Russian fossil fuels even if it results in energy supply problems. This is the prevailing view in every one of the nine EU countries polled, with an average of 55 per cent of these EU citizens supporting it.It is now clear that, contrary to the Kremlin’s expectations, the war has consolidated the West, rather than weakened it.”

“Average” is a telltale admission from Ash, Leonard, and Krastev.

They have been employed to undertake the polling and write a summary of its reults by a European government think tank called the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR).  Their report was published on February 22. Click to read it here.  

This “average” result has been fabricated by counting the response percentages in each of the EU country polls and dividing by their sum, nine. This “average” distorts and conceals the large differences in the poll percentages between the most anti-Russian countries – Estonia and Poland – and the more pro-Russian and antiwar states, such as Italy,  Spain, and Germany.

“Unity”, “consolidation”, and “hostility towards Russia” are the “prevailing view in every one of the nine EU countries” – that’s the headline conclusion from the think tank. It  appears to mean  the majority of people in Estonia think the same towards Russia and the war as the majority of Italians;  the majority of Poles the same as the majority of Spaniards or Germans.

But the evidence from Ash, Leonard and Krastev is a slip of their tongue between “prevailing”, which is a political term that doesn’t mean numerical majority; and “average” which is an arithmetical  operation which doesn’t measure difference – it erases the variation around the numerical mean.

Politically speaking about the Europe peoples, this is faking.  “I found the degree to which the national EU findings were subsumed in the overall figures, so that Germany could be diluted by Poland, for instance, fairly blatant,” commented a British expert on the war.

Asked to clarify the methodology for his published conclusion, Krastev refused, saying “I am putting in cc my colleagues from ECFR as they can answer your question.”

Speaking for Krastev, Ash and Leonard, Andreas Bock, a Berlin-based spokesman for the ECFR, acknowledged the individual country tabulations for each of the poll questions asked in each of the European countries were available to the report authors. But when asked for a public or press copy of these data, Bock refused to disclose them. He claimed “we can’t provide the intra-European data as we are preparing another piece using this [sic] data”.

Ash has been travelling outside England, his secretary said, but he had received the request for evidence to substantiate what he had written, and he would be replying. He has not, however. “Misrepresenting research data, withholding research data tables, faking research results, refusing to substantiate factual claims, and representing propaganda as professional work are grave violations of duty, standard and conduct for the holder of a university professorship”, Ash was asked. “How do you respond?”  He has not answered.

Ash,  Leonard,  and Krastev were asked by telephone and email to explain the stonewalling. “Is there a reason in evidence or interpretation why you believe this statement [of fabrication] does not apply to you?” There has been no response.

The headline of a “united West” is not substantiated in the evidence of the report. Source: https://ecfr.eu/publication/
The symbolism of the gold wedding ring displayed on the middle finger of the male right hand in the picture is disputed among jewelers and cultural anthropologists; their interpretation of the signal varies between vulgarity, gender change, and ostentation; it does not symbolize unity.     

The money to pay for this report is not identified in the document.  Instead, the think tank reports its sources of money here.   They include the defence and foreign ministries of the NATO governments; US foundations including Rockefeller Brothers, Bill and Melinda Gates, and George Soros (Open Society); a Balkan group created by the US government; and foundations financed by German political agencies (von Humboldt, Adenauer) or business groups funded by German, Danish, Swedish and other companies.  According to the ECFR, “the diversity of funding sources is critical to ensure the independence of our organisation.”

At the conclusion of the report there is a methodology note:

Testing whether this is a sleight of hand, the sample sizes for each of the nine countries polled have been compared to the latest population figure for each country. A ratio was then calculated by dividing the population denominator into the sample-size numerator.  The larger this ratio, the more over-represented the country is in the polling. This results in the exaggeration of that country’s responses compared to the other countries. The hostility of a small number of Estoanians has been magnified in order to minimize the contrary views of much larger numbers of Germans, French, Italians, and Spaniards.  

Dividing the sum of these ratios creates an average ratio of 140. Estonia’s ratio turns out to be more than five times greater than this average. It is also evident that combining Estonia, Denmark, Romania and Poland — which together comprise just 64.1 million people – over-represents their polled responses in the EU9 aggregate, while the four large states,  Spain, Italy, France, and Germany, with 257.5 million have been under-represented.


This outcome appears to have the intention of Ash, Leonard and Krastev; it also appears to be the reason they have refused to disclose the individual country tabulations so that the extent of the distortion can be analyzed.

When Bock claimed these data are being withheld because “we are preparing another piece using this data”, he refused to say who is writing the new report, when it will be published, or whether it is planned to correct mistakes in the initial report.

The central table in the ECFR  report claims to assess how friendly, hostile,  or uncommitted the EU9 populations are towards Russia  and the present NATO war;  and to compare them as a single “European” opinion with the US,  Britain, India, China,  and Turkey. On the two measures of hostility towards Russia, marked in red colours, the US result was 71%, the EU 66%. This led Ash, Leonard and Krastev to conclude there is a “new consensus among European governments that only a Ukrainian victory will stop Putin’s war. Although significant numbers of European citizens still wish the war to cease as soon as possible, the poll appears to show a clear trend over the last year towards preferring Ukraine to win even if the conflict endures some time longer.”

They add: “Reflecting on the war, Americans and Europeans are united in believing that Russia is an ‘adversary’ or a ‘rival’.” But what evidence is there — Ash, Leonard and Krastev were requested to explain —  that between the European states, and inside the largest of them,  opinion is “united”? The authors and their organization are hiding the evidence, if it exists.

“The reality”, Ash and the others claim, “is that Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine confirmed the renewed centrality of American power to Europe – with billions of dollars spent maintaining the war effort, which has sustained unity across the Atlantic on sanctions and diplomatic positions towards Russia and given a new lease on life for Western-led institutions such as NATO and the G7.” By avoiding accountability, Ash represents himself,  Leonard and Krastev as propagandists for the NATO war.  

For the contrasting Indian, Chinese and Turkish support for Russia in the war, click to read this.  

Source: https://ecfr.eu/  -- page 4.

Comparable polling for each of the European states is difficult to come by. None is available from a source that isn’t state funded and committed to the European Union and NATO war aims. The German Marshall Fund of the United States, for example, issued its poll survey, entitled “Transatlantic Trends 2022” on September 29 last. However, the polling was done in the mid-summer, between the last week of June and first week of July. The impact of the cutoff of Russian gas supplies, energy price inflation,  and foodstuff shortages, combined with the cold weather, the electricity war in the Ukraine, and the escalation of NATO weapons and forces on the battlefield had yet to materialize for those surveyed. Click to read.

The German Marshall Fund report’s note on methodology admits that its averages across the European Union have no relationship to country size. “EU average: This is the simple average of all EU member states polled.”  

The German Marshall Fund is paid by the US, German, Swedish, Latvian, Canadian, Belgian,  and Norwegian governments; the European Commission in Brussels; and  US and German corporations and foundations, including George Soros’s Open Society entities.   The polling was done primarily through computer or smartphone online questioning, designed by the Kantar polling company. Its chief pollster is an ex-French government official; other Kantar executives have come from the British, US, and Australian governments.   

While interpretation of the individual country results is disputable on methodological grounds, one of their results is clearly in contrast with the ECFR report of “European unity” whose polling occurred six months later. There is also significant evidence in the German Marshall Fund report of disunity inside the European states between right, centre,  and left wing political parties.

“In Europe, supporters of far-right and far-left parties have a more positive assessment of Russia’s influence. In France, 26% of supporters of the far-left La France Insoumise describe it as very or generally positive, compared to 16% for all respondents. There is a similar picture in Germany with 30% for supporters of the far-right Alternative for Germany compared to 14% for all respondents. Likewise, Russia’s influence is seen as more positive by Italian supporters of the Lega (29%) or of Fratelli d’Italia (27%) than the national average (21%). This is also the case in Spain, where 26% of supporters of Vox judge Russia’s influence as positive compared with the national average of 17%.”

The “average” reported in the left column is the simple sum of the country percentages in the right columns divided by the number of country columns.  Source:  https://www.gmfus.org  -- page 44.

In Italy, France and Spain, the German Marshall Fund reported, there was significantly less public support for security in conflict with Russia by buying more NATO and US bases, weapons and troops. The magnitude of difference on these issues between Italy, France and Spain, as well as Germany, on the one hand, and the Baltic states on the other is so plain in the German Marshall Fund report, it is likely to be just as visible in the country tables which the ECFR has concealed.

Leave a Reply