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Dynamics of readiness for territorial concessions for the earliest possible end of the war: results of a telephone survey conducted on September 7-13, 2022

The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, the Deputy Director of KIIS


From September 7 to 13, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 2,000 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR of Crimea) were interviewed. The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the boundaries controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were not temporarily controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), and the survey was not conducted with citizens who left the country after February 24, 2022.

Formally, under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) did not exceed 2.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.1% for indicators close to 25%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.1% - for indicators close to 5%.

Under conditions of war, in addition to the specified formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added. In particular, if back in May, among all the respondents we interviewed, 2.5-4% lived in the territories occupied after February 24 (and this corresponded to the percentage of those who live there, because the generation of telephone numbers was random), now, due to the occupiers turning off the telephone connection we managed to interview fewer respondents living in occupied settlements, in particular, their number is 0.3%. It is important to note that although the views of the respondents who lived in the occupation were somewhat different, the general tendencies were quite similar. That is, the impossibility of interviewing such respondents does not significantly affect the quality of the results. There are other factors that can affect the quality of results in "wartime" conditions (see Annex 2).

In general, we believe that the obtained results are still highly representative and allow a fairly reliable analysis of public attitudes.


Readiness for territorial concessions


In May and July 2022, we asked questions about readiness for territorial concessions to achieve peace as soon as possible. Now, in September 2022, we asked this question again to gauge the dynamics of public moods.

Graph 1 shows the respondents' answers. As can be seen, for 87% of respondents, no territorial concessions are acceptable (and this indicator has increased compared to July by 3 percentage points). Only 8% believe that in order to achieve peace and preserve independence, it is possible to give up some territories (and the share of such people decreased compared to July by 2 percentage points).


Graph 1. With which of these statements regarding possible compromises to achieve peace with Russia do you agree to a greater extent?



In all regions of Ukraine, the absolute majority of the population is against any territorial concessions. Even among the inhabitants of the East[1], which is currently undergoing intense fighting, 85% are against concessions (only 10% are ready to make concessions), and 83% are against concessions among Southerners (only 10% are ready to make concessions). It is worth noting that in the period from May to July in the East, from 68% to 77%, there were more people who are against any concessions, and in September this indicator increased to 85%. Now there is actually no difference between the views of residents of different regions.

Separately, we note that among the respondents who lived in the territory that was occupied after February 24 (and almost all such respondents left for the territory under the control of the Government of Ukraine) before February 24, only 2% are in favor of territorial concessions. Instead, 92% believe that there should be no territorial concessions. Among all IDPs, 6% support concessions, compared to 90% who oppose them.


Graph 2. Readiness for territorial concessions in the regional dimension



Graph 3 shows the results by linguistic and ethnic categories of the population of Ukraine. As can be seen, among Russian-speaking Ukrainians, 85% are against territorial concessions (10% support). Among Russian-speaking Russians, the majority - 57% - are against any concessions (support – 24%). 


Graph 3. Readiness for territorial concessions among linguistic and ethnic categories of the population



A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:


As already noted in the introduction and discussed in Annex 2, a possible systematic error due to the unavailability of part of the population of the temporarily occupied territories for the survey does not exceed 2.5%. This means that all the obtained results are representative for the existing population of Ukraine.

We also draw your attention to the fact that the survey was conducted during a successful operation by Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region. The results show that, as before, Ukrainians, regardless of region, language of communication, ethnic origin, maintain a high level of cohesion and reluctance to make concessions to the aggressor.

Social unity in these issues is an important factor both for the success of the national resistance and for the Western partners, who should see that there is no fatigue and it is not worth putting pressure on Ukraine and forcing an unacceptable peace. The Russians should also understand that the Ukrainians will not give theirs.


Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire


With which of these statements regarding possible compromises to achieve peace with Russia do you agree to a greater extent? RANDOMIZATION OF READING

 (% among all respondents)

100% in the column Region: where lived until February 24, 2022 Ukraine as a whole West[2] Center South East
In order to achieve peace and preserve independence as soon as possible, Ukraine can give up some of its territories 8 4 8 10 10
Under no circumstances should Ukraine give up any of its territories, even if because of this the war will last longer and there will be threats to the preservation of independence 87 91 88 83 85


Annex 2. Methodological comments on the representativeness of telephone surveys conducted during the war


Even before the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, there were a number of factors that negatively affected the representativeness of the polls (for example, the absence of a census for more than 20 years). A full-scale war, of course, greatly affects representativeness and complicates the work of sociologists, but does not make it impossible. Access to reliable data on the state of public moods remains relevant both for Ukrainians themselves and for our foreign partners (who, as the events of the past 5 months have shown, often underestimated and did not understand Ukraine and Ukrainians).

At the same time, in order to maintain objectivity, it is necessary to understand what limitations the war imposes on the conduct of sociological surveys. First of all, we pay attention to large-scale population movements. At the beginning of July, EU representatives estimated that 3.2-3.7 million Ukrainians - adults and children - are currently in these countries. There is no exact data on how many of them are adult citizens, but, most likely, it is about half. In addition, some Ukrainians left for other countries, except for the EU. In particular, a significant number of Ukrainians were forcibly deported to Russia and Belarus (according to some estimates, about 1 million). Among the approximately 30 million adult citizens (estimated at the time of the full-scale invasion), it can be roughly estimated that about 10% have left the country, and the method of telephone interviews cannot provide a reliable survey of these citizens. Even more citizens have become internally displaced persons, but they have a much smaller impact on the quality of telephone surveys, since almost all of these citizens have mobile phones and are reachable to participate in the survey (in fact, 14% of the respondents of this survey are IDPs).

Another important issue is the accessibility for the survey of the population of the territories that were occupied after February 24, 2022, due to the conduct of intensive military operations or due to interruptions in telephone communication. Now there is practically no connection. In May, 2.5-4% of respondents lived in these territories, now in the sample of residents of these territories - 0.2%. But it should be taken into account that a significant part of the population continues to leave these territories, therefore, most likely, no more than 1.5-2.5% of the total adult population of Ukraine are inaccessible due to communication problems.

In our opinion, a more significant impact on representativeness can have either a generally lower willingness of citizens with "pro-Russian" moods to participate in surveys, or the insincerity of those who did take part in the survey (given the obvious facts and prevailing opinions in the media regarding the Russian invasion , some citizens will not want to say what they really think "in public"). If to talk about the general willingness of respondents to participate in the survey, then in recent surveys we see either the same indicators or slightly lower (although it should be borne in mind that the lower willingness to participate of "pro-Russian"-minded citizens can be compensated by the higher willingness to participate of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens).

We conducted a small methodological experiment in May, which shows that the citizens who are currently participating in the polls in terms of demographic characteristics and meaningful moods are close to those who participated in the polls until February 24, 2022. Preliminarily, we see some shift in the direction of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens, which is reflected in up to 4-6% deviations for individual questions (in the direction of more frequent selection of answers that correspond to the "pro-Ukrainian" interpretation of events). In our opinion, this is a rather optimistic indicator in the current conditions. However, this experiment does not give an answer as to how sincere the respondents are now in their answers.

Taking into account our own observations and the experience of conducting surveys over many years, we still remain optimistic that, for the most part, respondents answer the questions sincerely. For example, the "imagined acquaintance" experiment shows little difference with the direct question. In addition, we assume that the demographic categories of citizens who have gone abroad and are unreachable for a telephone survey, at least now, do not differ very significantly in terms of a number of meaningful moods from similar demographic categories of citizens who have remained in Ukraine.

As a result, in our opinion, we should talk about a certain decrease in representativeness and an increase in error (in addition to the previously mentioned formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added due to the factors considered above), but at the same time, the obtained results still retain high representativeness and allow for a fairly reliable analysis of public moods of the population.

[1] The region is determined by where the respondent lived until February 24, i.e. IDPs who, for example, lived in the Donetsk oblast until February 24, but now live in another oblast, are considered residents of the East for the analysis.

[2] The composition of the macroregions is as follows: Western macroregion – Volyn, Rivne, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi oblasts; Central macroregion – Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Kyiv oblasts, Kyiv city, Southern macroregion – Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa oblasts, Eastern macroregion – Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts.

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