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Changes in the attitude of the Ukrainians toward Russia and of the Russians toward Ukraine
Press release by Tetiana Piaskovska
The attitude of the population of Ukraine toward Russia did not change much, while the attitude of the population of Russia toward Ukraine became worse over the past 6 months. The amount of those Ukrainians who have positive attitude toward Russia decreased by 5 percentage points over the past 2 months what is statistically insignificant (from 42% in May to 40% in September), at the same time in Russia positive attitude over this period decreased by 13 percentage points (from 39% in May to 26% in September). The amount of those Ukrainians who prefer borders with Russia to be closed increased comparing to May 2016 (from 44% to 48%). The amount of those who support this idea in Russia also increased (from 36% to 39%).
Press release contains the results of a conjoint project of Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and Russian non-governmental research organization “Levada-Center”.
In a period of September 16 - 20, 2016 Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) has conducted its own public opinion poll in Ukraine. Data were collected from 2040 respondents living in 110 settlements in all regions of Ukraine (except for AR of Crimea) through personal interviews. The sample is stochastic, 4-staged with quota selection on the last stage, the sample is representative of the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above.
In Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts (regions) survey was conducted only in the territories controlled by Ukraine.
The statistical sample error (with the probability of 0.95 and without the design–effect) does not exceed 2.2% for indicators close to 50%, 1.9% – for indicators close to 25%, 1.3% – for indicators close to 10%, 0.9% – for indicators close to 5%. The design-effect for most variables does not exceed 1.5.
“Levada-Center” conducted the poll on September 23-25, 2016 with the representative all-Russian sample consisting of rural- and urban-based 1602 people aged 18 and above, who live in 137 settlements in 48 regions of the country. The research was conducted at respondents’ homes using the method of personal interviewing. Statistical error with the sample of 1600 people (with the probability of 0.95) does not exceed:
3.4% - for indicators close to 50%
2.9% - for indicators close to 25% / 75%
2.0% - for indicators close to10% / 90%
1.5% for indicators close to 5% / 95%
As in the previous studies, the Ukrainians were asked: “What is your general attitude toward Russia now?”, and the questions for the Russians was: “What is your general attitude toward Ukraine now?”
Commentary by the Deputy Head of Levada-Center Oleksii Hrazhdankin:
“The amount of attention that the population of Russia devotes to the events in Ukraine has decreased significantly comparing to the data of February 2014 – July 2015 when the percentage of those who “attentively” or “very attentively” follow those events was over 50%. During the past year, this percentage is changing depending on the newsmaker in the “corridor” from 32% to 40% (35% in September 2016).
The level of support for the accession of Crimea to Russia decreased comparing to the one observed in March 2014 – May 2015 (in the “corridor” from 84% to 90%), but remains high (in the “corridor” from 82% to 84%, 88% in May 2016, 83% - in September 2016).
The situation in eastern Ukraine is still perceived as "hard" or "critical / explosive" (this opinion is supported by 61 + 18 = 79% of respondents), this value of this indicator increased by 9 percentage points comparing to February of this year (70 + 18 = 88%). The balance of expected changes in the situation ("will become better" - "will become worse") is still negative "-14" (although it is slightly better than in May and July of this year - "-16%" and "17%", respectively).
The attitude of the population of Russia to Ukraine changes, in general, according to the change in the attitude of the population of Ukraine to Russia (after a sharp deterioration in early 2014 it reached its peak in May 2015). However, the attitude of the population of Russia to Ukraine is still worse than the attitude of the population of Ukraine to Russia and varies to a much greater extent depending on the news information. In September 2016 the index of attitude to Ukraine (( "very positive" + "mostly good") - ( "mostly negative" + "very negative")) was 26-56 = -30% in the range between the estimates obtained in May this year (26-63 = -37% and 39 - 47 = -8%).
As before, the residents believe that "Russia and Ukraine should be independent but friendly states" more willingly than that "Russia's relations with Ukraine should be the same as with other countries with closed borders, visas, and customs" (48% and 39%, respectively). The value of the first index continues to decline, and the value of the second index continues to grow (for example, in September 2015 their ratio was 52% and 32%, in September 2014 - 62% and 26%, in January 2014 - 59% and 19%). The percentage of those who believe that "Russia and Ukraine should unite in one state" did not exceed 12% since May 2014 (in September 2016 these were only 8%)”.
Graph1. Dynamicsofthepositiveattitudeof the population of Ukraine toward Russia and of the population of Russia toward Ukraine (% of those who have very positive and mostly positive attitude)
The dynamics of answers to the question “What type of the relations between Ukraine and Russia would you prefer?”
Graph 2. What type of the relations with Russia does the population of Ukraine prefer?*
* Line on the graph «Ukraine and Russia should be independent states” is a sum of the first two columns of Table 6, that is, the percentage of those who want the independence with closed borders and customs and of those who prefer independence without borders and customs (see tables below).
Addition 1.Formulations of the questions from the questionnaire
What type of the relations between Ukraine and Russia would you prefer? ONE ANSWER
What is your general attitude toward Russia now?
Table 1. What is your general attitude toward Ukraine/Russia?
Table 2. What is your general attitude toward Russia now? Distribution by macro regions of Ukraine
Table 3. What type of the relations between Ukraine and Russia would you prefer?