East Europeans think they're culturally superior

People in Eastern Europe are more inclined than West Europeans to believe that their culture is superior to others, according to a study published by the Pew Research Center on views regarding religion, minorities and social issues. According to the researchers the continent is as divided now as it was in the days of the Iron Curtain. How can this be explained?

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Die Presse (AT) /

Historical reasons for Eastern Europe's views

The conviction that its own culture is superior has to do with the past in the east of the EU, Die Presse concludes:

“For outsiders it may seem absurd that Bulgarians, Poles or Czechs regard their (without doubt multi-faceted) culture as superior while the Spaniards and French exercise noble restraint in this respect. However, the opinion researchers' findings become more comprehensible when one takes European history into account. In the last century neither Spain nor France faced such a serious threat to their existence as those countries where first the Nazis went on the rampage and which were then left to the Soviet Union as a reward for the victory against the Third Reich. Behind the Iron Curtain national culture was the last bastion against totalitarianism. This experience has had a lasting effect.”

Hospodářské noviny (CZ) /

Irrational prejudices against Muslims

Fifty-five percent of Czechs see their own culture as superior to Islam and only twelve percent would accept a Muslim in their family. Hospodářské noviny sees this as a consequence of the isolationist policy of Prague's politicians:

“It's really quite irrational that after the Armenians the Czechs are the biggest opponents of Muslims in Europe. This has above all to do with the stance on migration, which had a decisive impact on the outcome of the last presidential elections for example. The only explanation for this is that the topic of immigration was exploited as regards Islam. From a historical perspective Czechs and Muslims have had only minimal political, economic and cultural relations with each other. These relations alone can't possibly have an influence on society as a whole.”