IRI Poll Across 13 European Countries Shows Concerns with China-Russia Partnership, a Desire for Action Against Human Rights Abuses, Economic Anxiety

Washington, DC – A poll taken by the International Republican Institute (IRI) across 13 Central and Eastern European countries found concerns over the partnership between China and Russia, support for a response to human rights abuses against Uyghurs, and economic anxieties. The poll was conducted in Austria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia as part of IRI’s Bolstering Europe Against the Subversive Tactics (BEAST) of the CCP Project.

When asked how their opinions have changed towards China in the last 12 months, 34% of people said their views have worsened. Sixty-six percent of those who feel that way cited Beijing’s partnership with Russia as the biggest contributing factor for their worsened outlook. 

“Our data clearly show that many Europeans see a working relationship between Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping as a threat to security and prosperity across the continent,” said Jan Surotchak, Senior Director for Transatlantic Strategy at IRI. “As the war in Ukraine rages on, they are worried that an alliance between powerful authoritarians will continue to have a negative impact in their own backyard.” 

The human rights abuses in China toward the Uyghur population have also caught the attention of many Europeans. Thirty-eight percent mentioned at least one measure their governments should take in response to these abuses such as economic sanctions and international condemnation. Only 11% feel their governments should not respond at all.

“Threats to human rights can transcend borders and proliferate very quickly,” said Surotchak. “Europeans have a firm grasp of history and understand the evil nature and subsequent dangers that stem from governments attacking any kind of religious minorities.”  

Additionally, when asked about the most important problems facing their countries, several economic issues dominated.  The top concern was cost of living and high prices, cited by 57%, a clear majority. Other top economic issues were poverty and unemployment, cited by 24% and 22% respectively.  


The surveys were conducted on behalf of IRI’s Center for Insights in Survey Research (CISR) by Ipsos. Data was collected between July 25 – August 15, 2022, through online interviews conducted with Ipsos’s actively managed the survey comprised a total sample of 14,461 respondents, spread across 13 country samples. The country samples are representative of their resident populations, aged 18 and older. Country samples are designed using several demographic quotas including gender, age, occupation, region, and market size. Quotas are set according to data from EUROSTAT, the Statistical Office of the European Union. 

The margin of error for the midrange of the full 13-country sample is ±0.8-point at the 95% confidence level. 

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