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Poles’ opinion of Hungarians worsened since start of Ukraine war, survey shows

Budapest, Hungary – Poles’ dislike of Russians, Belarusians, Germans, and Hungarians has significantly increased since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Notes from Poland reported, compiling data from the state research agency CBOS.

With 82% of Poles expressing a negative opinion towards them, nearly twice as much as in January 2022, Russians are the most disliked nationality from the annual CBOS poll – which also includes ethnic groups such as Arabs, Roma, and Jews.

Arabs (59%), Belarusians (52%) and Roma (50%) follow as some of the least liked nationalities/ethnic groups among the Polish population.

Only 9% of Poles declared disliking Hungarians more than one year ago, but this figure has now risen to 27% – the second sharpest increase after Russians. Conversely, 36% of Poles expressed a positive opinion towards Hungarians, down from 57% a year ago.

Although long-time close allies, Poland and Hungary have seen their relationship deteriorate over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and their respective response to it.

Among EU and NATO nations, Poland has been one of the leading forces to accommodate millions of Ukrainian refugees who fled across the borders, and has provided substantial military, financial and diplomatic aid to Kyiv.

Warsaw has criticised the timid response coming from the Hungarian government, which has refused to provide direct military aid to Ukraine, frequently echoed the Kremlin’s rhetoric on the war and Western sanctions, and repeatedly clashed with the Ukrainian president and other officials.

Such a low level of sympathy towards both Russians and Hungarians is unprecedented in recent decades, the CBOS agency noted.

Only two years ago, Hungarians received the same level of sympathy as Americans (60% of positive opinion), only surpassed by Czechs, Italians and Slovaks.

At the other end of the spectrum, and confirming long-term trends, Americans were the most popular national grouping, with 68% of Poles expressing a positive sentiment, up 10 percentage points.

They’re followed by Italians (61%), the English (60%), and their neighbouring Czechs, Slovaks (both 54%) and Ukrainians (51%). Other popular nationalities include the Swedes, Lithuanians, Finns, and the French.

Coordinated by Ábel Bede, Kafkadesk's Budapest office is made up of a growing team of freelance journalists, editors and fact-checkers passionate about Hungarian affairs and dedicated to bringing you all the latest news, events and insights from Hungary.