Generations divided: Older people in Switzerland want more support for Ukraine

Generations divided: Older people in Switzerland want more support for Ukraine

A study undertaken by a Swiss research institute has found that older people in Switzerland are in favour of sending more support to help Ukraine. The research also found that the alpine nation's attitude towards supporting the country is split by age: many younger people in Switzerland want the country to retain its neutral stance and not offer any more support. 

70 percent of people in Switzerland want a war crimes tribunal

The survey, which was carried out by Switzerland’s Sotomo Institute in Zurich, found that 70 percent of people in Switzerland want to see some sort of accountability for Russian President Vladimir Putin at a war crimes tribunal. Despite this, many people think that any sort of accountability is a long way away - since the majority of survey respondents say they can see the conflict continuing past the end of 2023. 

The Sotomo study, which was commissioned by SonntagsBlick, found that 60 percent of older people are in favour of confiscating Russian assets belonging to oligarchs and redistributing them amongst Ukrainian reconstruction efforts. The study also found that older people were generally more in favour of sending extra support for Ukraine, with those over-55 wanting Switzerland to pursue a more aggressive strategy when it comes to dealing with Russia. 

Young people in Switzerland want neutrality

By contrast, young people in Switzerland want to uphold the country’s traditional neutrality. Almost half of 18 to 35-year-olds want Switzerland to hold back more when it comes to the war, with just 33 percent of young people wanting Switzerland to pursue a more offensive strategy. 

Young people are also more sceptical about the prospect of sending weapons to Ukraine and confiscating the assets of sanctioned Russians. Only 45 percent of 18 to 35-year-olds back the confiscation of Russian assets.

Swiss men and women disagree on Switzerland’s stance

While both men and women in Switzerland show little sympathy for Russia’s president, women are significantly less interested in pushing the Swiss government to take a tougher stance. By contrast, many Swiss men advocate for arms exports to Ukraine and greater Swiss involvement in the conflict.

Sotomo Managing Director Michael Herman told Blick that one of the reasons for these disparities between young, old, men and women is because older people who experienced the Cold War will have different ideas on how to deal with the fighting compared to younger people who see Russian perspectives on social media. He added that both women and young people generally reject the idea of war itself and are therefore against a “strong rearmament”. 

After months of political wrangling, the study has also made one other fact clear: the majority of people in Switzerland do not support the re-export of Swiss-made armaments to Ukraine. Despite this, it is likely that Swiss politicians will continue to go back and forth on the Ukraine issue as the conflict rumbles on. 

Image: / 7713 Photography

Emily Proctor


Emily Proctor

Emily grew up in the UK before moving abroad to study International Relations and Chinese. She then obtained a Master's degree in International Security and gained an interest in journalism....

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