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Attitude to the status of the Russian language in Ukraine

The press-release prepared by Darina Pirogova.

 

From December 14 to December 24, 2015 the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted All–Ukrainian poll of public opinion. There were interviewed 2013 respondents aged 18 and older, living in 108 populated localities of Ukraine (including Kiev), except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Survey was conducted only in areas controlled by Ukraine in Lugansk region. Survey was conducted in both areas of Donetsk region: territories controlled by Ukraine and territories that are not controlled by Ukraine. The selection is representative for the population of Ukraine aged 18 years and older.

The statistical error of selection (with probability 0.95 and at design–effect 1.5) doesn't exceed the following: 3.3% for indicators which are close to 50%, 2,8% – for indicators which are close to 25%, 2,0% – for indicators which are close to 10%, 1.4%  – close to 5%.

 
  • Little more than a half of the Ukrainian population - 52% consider that the Russian language should be the second official language only in those areas where the most people support this idea. The idea that the Russian language should be struck off the formal communication and the idea that the Russian language should be the second official language in Ukraine support approximately equal proportion of the respondents - 21% and 19% respectively.

  • The proportion of those who consider that the Russian language should be recognized as the second official language of Ukraine has decreased significantly: there were of them 27% in 2013 and 19% in 2015.

  • There is more supporters’ Russian language as the second official language in the Eastern and Southern regions than in the Western and Central regions. But in the Western and Central regions there are more supporters of struck off the Russian language from official communication in Ukraine than in the Southern and Eastern regions.

  • The majority of the Ukrainian population supports the idea that in all regions of Ukraine should recognize the Russian language as the second official language only in those areas where the most people want it.

  • According to the survey, if the referendum concerning the acceptance of the Russian language as an official language of the state took place, then almost 50% of population would have voted against and only the one third (33%) would have voted affirmatively. Another 9% would not participate in the voting and 10% could not decide.

  • Only half of the Ukrainian population of the Eastern and Southern regions who would vote in a hypothetical referendum concerning recognizing the Russian language as the second official language really considers that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language. The rest of the Ukrainian population of these regions - 46% - considers that the Russian language should recognize as an official language only in those areas where the most people support this idea.

  • For the population of the Eastern and Southern regions which would vote in the referendum to recognize the Russian language as the second official, only 51% consider that the Russian language should grant this status even in the case when there will be an opportunity to recognize the Russian language as the second official language in those localities where the majority of the population support this idea. The rest of the population of these regions - 46% - consider that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language only in those localities were the most people support this idea.

 

Respondents were asked: «In your opinion, what should be the public policy concerning the Russian language in Ukraine?» and three options:

It should strike off the Russian language from official communication in Ukraine.

The Russian language should recognize as the second official language only in those localities where majority of the population supports this idea.

The Russian language should recognize as an official language of Ukraine.

Results of the survey showed that a little more than half of Ukrainian population - 52% consider that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language only in those localities where majority of the population supports this idea. The choice that the Russian language should strike off the formal communication in Ukraine support approximately equal proportion of the respondents - 21% and 19% respectively (difference is not statistically significant), 6% of respondents found it difficult to answer this question, 2% didn’t give an answer.


 

Chart 1.



The comparison of the results of this survey with the data that were obtained 2 years ago, in February / March 2013 (N=2760), showed that the proportion of those who consider that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language of Ukraine has decreased significantly there were of them 27% in 2013 and 19% in 2015 (the difference is statistically significant at 1%).

Also decreased the proportion of respondents who are convinced that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language only in those localities where  majority of the population supports this idea: there were 52% of them in 2013 and 47% has become in 2015 (the difference is statistically significant at 1%). Also increased the proportion of respondents who are convinced that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language only in those localities where majority of the population supports this idea: there were 47% of them in 2013 and 52% has become in 2015 (the difference is statistically significant at 1%).

The proportion of respondents who replied that the Russian language should strike off the formal communication in Ukraine practically has not changed: there were 21% of them in 2013 and 19% has become in 2015 (difference is not statistically significant).



Chart
2.

Among the population of different regions the attitude to the various alternatives of public policy concerning the Russian language is different. In the Eastern and Southern regions are more supporters of recognizing the Russian language as the second official language in Ukraine compared to the Western and Central regions. But in the Western and Central regions are more supporters of the idea that the Russian language should strike off the formal communication in all regions of Ukraine in comparison with the Southern and Eastern regions.

The idea that the Russian language should strike off the formal communication in all regions of Ukraine support 42% of the population of the Western region, 24% of the population of Central region, 13% of the population of Southern region and 3% of the Eastern region (all differences are statistically significant at the 1 percent of level).

37% of the population of the Southern region support the idea that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language support, 31% of the population of the Eastern region, 8% of the population of the Central region and 6% of the population of  the Western regions (all differences are statistically significant at the 1 percent of level).

61% population of the Eastern region consider that it is appropriate idea that the Russian language should grant the status of the second official language only in those localities where majority of the Ukrainian population support this idea, 57% of the population of the Central region and almost the same proportion of the population of the Western and Southern regions (44% and 43% respectively). This variant of the implementation of the public policy concerning the Russian language in comparison with other is relatively compromise for people from all regions because relative majority of the population in all regions of Ukraine it considers appropriate.

Tabulation 1.

«In your opinion, what should be the public policy concerning the Russian language in Ukraine?»

 Variants of answers Western Central Southern Eastern (with Donbass)
It should struck off the Russian language from official communication in Ukraine 42 24 13 3
The Russian language should recognize as an official language only in those areas where majority people support this idea 44 57 43 61
The Russian language should recognize as the second official language 6 8 37 31
It is difficult to say/I don’t know 7 8 6 5
No answer  1 3 1 0

 

Also respondents were asked question "What, in your opinion, should be a national policy on the teaching of Russian in UKRAINIAN schools?".

The results show that a relative majority - 36% of the Ukrainian population consider that the Russian language shouldn’t have more academic hours than the other foreign languages, 30% answered that the amount of teaching of Russian and Ukrainian should taught in a an equal academic hours, another 27% of respondents agreed that the Russian language should be taught in a less quantity than the Ukrainian language but more quantity than foreign languages. 7% of respondents found it difficult to answer this question, another 1% didn’t answer.

In the regional context it turned out that absolute majority of population of the Western region - 71% - answered that the Russian language shouldn’t have more academic hours than the other foreign languages. At the same time, in the Eastern region it is dominated idea that the Russian and Ukrainian languages should be taught in the same quantity of academic hours. The absolute majority - 62% of the respondents support this idea.

Tabulation 2.

What, in your opinion, should be a national policy on the teaching of Russian in UKRAINIAN schools? %

 Variants of answers Ukraine in general Western Central Southern Eastern (with Donbass)
The Russian language should have the same quantity of academic hours as the Ukrainian language. 30 5 14 46 62
The Russian language should be taught in a less quantity of academic hours than the Ukrainian language. 27 16 33 34 21
The Russian language shouldn’t have more academic hours than the other foreign languages. 36 71 44 16 10
It is difficult to say/I don’t know 6 7 9 4 6
No answer  1 1 0 0 1


In addition, in this survey we asked respondents to imagine that a referendum takes place now concerning recognizing the Russian language as the second police language in Ukraine. The question sounded like this: «You can vote for, against or abstain - not to vote. What is your choice?».

According to the results of the survey of hypothetical referendum majority of the population would have voted against granting the Russian language the status of the second state language in Ukraine. There were 48% of the respondents. A third of the respondents would vote for - 33%, 9% would not vote, and 10% did not answer this question.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Chart
3.




In the regional context we can observe a similar trend as in the previous questions. In the Eastern and Southern regions majority of the population would have voted for granting the Russian language the status of the second official language - 66% and 56% respectively. In the Western and Central regions, on the contrary, majority of the population would have voted against granting the Russian language the status of the second official language - 81% and 67% respectively.

Tabulation 3.

Please imagine that it is going referendum on granting Russian language the status of the second official language in Ukraine. You can vote for, against or abstain - not to participate in the voting. What is your choice? %

 Variants of answers Western Central Southern Eastern (with Donbass)
Vote for 5 13 56 66
Vote against 81 67 29 10
Not to participate in the voting 7 8 9 12
No answers 7 12 6 12

 

We can make an interesting comparison using the received data. A third of the population of Ukraine is ready to vote to recognize Russian language as the second official language. At the same time only 19% consider that Russian language should recognize as the second official language in Ukraine. But we should not forget that a half of the population (52%) doesn’t mind to recognize Russian language as the second official language in Ukraine but only in those localities where majority of the population support this idea.
If we consider only the orientation of the population of the Eastern and Southern regions who would vote in the referendum to recognize Russian language as the second official language and see how many of them really consider that the Russian language should be the second official language in Ukraine then it will be only a half of the population - 51%, the rest of the population of the Southern and the Eastern regions - 46% - consider that the Russian language should recognize as the second official language only in those localities were majority of the population support this idea.

Tabulation 4.

«In your opinion, what should be the public policy concerning the Russian language in Ukraine?»

The population of the Southern and Eastern regions which would have voted for the Russian language as the second official language in a hypothetical referendum, N = 565
The Russian language should recognize as the second official language in Ukraine 51
The Russian language should recognize as an official language only in those areas where majority people support this idea 46
It is difficult to say/I don’t know 3

 


 * Western region - Zakarpattia, Volyn, Rivne, L’viv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopol, Chernivtsi and Khmelnitsky region; Central region - Zhytomyr, Vinnitsa, Kirovograd, Cherkasy, Sumy, Chernihiv, Kyiv and Kyiv region; South region - Odessa, Nikolayev, Kherson, Zaporozhe and Dnipropetrovsk; East region - Kharkov, Donetsk and Lugansk.




10.4.2015
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