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Attitude towards refugees, internally displaced persons, Russian-speaking citizens and some other categories of the population of Ukraine

The press release was prepared by the President of KIIS, Volodymyr Paniotto

 

  • The attitude towards internally displaced persons (IDPs) is quite positive. 53% are ready to let them into their immediate environment, another 42% agree that they should live in Ukraine (95% in total). Only 5 have a xenophobic attitude towards them%.
  • The situation with refugees, Russian-speaking citizens, and those who remained in the occupied territory is also not a cause for concern, no more than 14% of the population of Ukraine have a xenophobic attitude towards them
  • The attitude towards citizens of Ukraine who are Russian by nationality is a cause for concern, 36% of the population have a xenophobic attitude towards them. This attitude is obviously irrational and unfair, because the data of sociological researches show that, in general, the views of citizens of Ukraine - ethnic Russians, although somewhat different from the views of ethnic Ukrainians, are not very significant, and these citizens also protect Ukraine from enemies.

 

From February 22 to March 6, 2023, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". Bythemethodofcomputer-assistedtelephoneinterviews(CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 985 respondents (respectively, in the first and second waves) 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 a sample of 985 respondents (first wave) (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account a design effect of 1.1) did not exceed 3.4% for indicators close to 50%, 3.0% for indicators , close to 25%, 2.1% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.5% - 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 communication, we managed to interview only 1 respondent in the first wave (out of 985) and 3 respondents in the second wave (out of 2007), who currently live in occupied settlements. 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 moods of the population.

 

 

Cohesion, unity is one of the important characteristics of society. For Ukraine, which is forced to fight against a powerful enemy, this is a problem of the country's survival as an independent state. Sociological researches show that overall, the cohesion of Ukrainian society has increased significantly, differentiation by regions, language, and ethnicity has significantly decreased. But the war in Ukraine caused not only physical destruction, but also social differentiation in society. As a result of the war, new categories of people appeared who found themselves in different situations: those who fight, those who became disabled, those who remained in place, those who were forced to leave their homes and move to another settlement within Ukraine (internally displaced persons, IDPs), those who went abroad (refugees), as well as those who found themselves in the occupied territory. However, sometimes instead of uniting and supporting each other, new forms of distrust and condemnation emerge. The Kyiv International Institute of Sociology conducted research on this topic to analyze the social consequences of the war in Ukraine and understand how these consequences affect the integration and cohesion of Ukrainian society.

 

Methodological remarks

We usually provide methodological information in appendices, but in this case some preliminary explanations are necessary. Since 1994, KIIS has been conducting research on the attitude of the population of Ukraine to some ethnic and social groups (see, for example, Press releases and reports – INTER-ETHNIC PREJUDICE IN UKRAINE, SEPTEMBER 2022 (kiis.com.ua).  This research is conducted according to the scale of the American sociologist Emory Bogardus (adapted by N. Panina). For each ethnic group from the list, respondents have to answer how close relationships they are willing to allow with representatives of each group. This is called social distancing. Minimum social distance 1 (agree to admit as a family member), maximum 7 (would not allow into Ukraine). Often, the level of social distance is interpreted as the level of prejudice against one or another group.

 

And now I will read to you the names of some social and national groups. For each group, say whether you agree to admit its representatives... Choose all that apply.

 

As members of own family 1
As close friends 2
As neighbors 3
As a work colleagues 4
As residents of Ukraine 5
As guests of Ukraine 6
Would you not let them into Ukraine 7

 

  Members of own family Close friends Neighbors Work colleagues Residents of Ukraine Guests of Ukraine Would not let into Ukraine
refugees who are currently abroad 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
internally displaced persons who left their homes and live elsewhere in Ukraine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Ukrainians who found themselves in the occupied territory after February 24, 2022 and still live there 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine 1 2 3 4 5 6 7
citizens of Ukraine who are Russian by nationality 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

 

 

Survey results.

The complete distribution of responses to these questions is shown in Table 1 in the annex. Table 1 below shows the distributions of the responses, combining the percentage of people who are ready to admit refugees, IDPs and representatives of other groups as family members, friends, neighbors or work colleagues (score 1-4).  If to use the terminology of Ye. Holovakha and N. Panina, this attitude can be called tolerant (National tolerance and identity in Ukraine: the experience of using the social distance scale in monitoring sociological research (cyberleninka.ru). Attitude towards one or another category of the population, which consists in the fact that a person would not like to see representatives of this category in his environment, but does not object to these people being citizens of Ukraine (score 5) by analogy with the terminology of Ye.Holovakha and N.Panina, it can be called social isolation. And disagreement with the fact that people of this social category live in Ukraine can be called xenophobia. If they do not object to these people coming as guests (score 6) – this is a lower level of xenophobia, and if they are not perceived even as guests (score 7– wouldnot let into Ukraine at all) this is the highest level of xenophobia.

 

Table 1. What social distance are ready to admit residents of Ukraine representatives of  several social categories, %. March 2023

Agree to admit representatives of these groups as … Refugees who are currently abroad Internally displaced persons (IDPs) Ukrainians who found themselves in the occupied territory after February 24, 2022 Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine Citizens of Ukraine who are Russian by nationality
...family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues 45.6 52.8 44.2 43.2 28.9
...residents of Ukraine 41.5 41.8 45.7 42.7 34.6
...guests of Ukraine 8.4 4.5 3.6 7.5 14.0
Would not let into Ukraine 4.5 0.9 6.5 6.6 22.5
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Average social distance 3.67 3.37 3.73 3.83 4.71

 

Attitude towards refugees.

As we see from Table 1, the attitude of 46% of the respondents is completely tolerant, another 42% agree that they should return to Ukraine (87% in total). Only 13% would not like to see them in Ukraine. In principle, these data are consistent with the data of the research we conducted in September 2022 (Press releases and reports - Attitudes of Ukrainians who are currently in Ukraine towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe (kiis.com.ua)). We studied the attitude towards refugees in Europe with the help of direct questions about the attitude towards them (“As you know, many residents of Ukraine left the country due to the Russian invasion and became refugees. Some residents of Ukraine who remained understand the refugees and do not judge them, that they left and are not coming back yet. Other people, on the contrary, are saddened by this choice and condemn them for leaving and not coming back. And what is your general attitude towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe?). We studied the attitude towards refugees in general and towards individual categories of refugees. In general, 90% of Ukrainians understand refugees and do not condemn them

The average social distance from the population of Ukraine to refugees is 3.67, which is lower than the average for 13 ethnic groups, the attitude towards which we constantly study - the average for 13 groups is 4.00.

For a better understanding of the results of this research, we also present the results of a survey on the Bogardus scale that we conducted in September 2022 for two groups - with the minimum social distance (Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians, average distance 2.22) and with the maximum social distance (Russians - residents of Russia, average distance 6.39)

 

Table 2. To what social distance are residents of Ukraine are ready to allow Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians and Russians living in Russia, %. September 2022

Agree to admit representatives of these groups as … Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians Russians - residents of Russia
...family members, friends, neighbors, colleagues 75.5 9.9
...residents of Ukraine 19.7 1.5
...guests of Ukraine 3.6 8.3
Would not let into Ukraine 1.2 80.3
Total 100.0 100.0
Average social distance 2.22 6.39

 

As we see, even for Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians, the social distance is not equal to 1, approximately 25% of the population would not like to see them among their immediate environment and 5% have a xenophobic attitude towards them. Therefore, 13% of negative attitude towards refugees is not particularly worrying.

 

Attitude towards internally displaced persons (IDPs)

IDPs from the groups we studied this time have the best attitude. The social distance index is 3.37, which is significantly lower than the average for ethnic groups. 53% are ready to allow them into their environment, another 42% agree that they should live in Ukraine (95% in total). Only 5% have a xenophobic attitude towards them (the same number as towards Ukrainian-speaking Ukrainians). The situation with IDPs looks quite satisfactory.

 

Attitude towards Ukrainians who found themselves in the occupied territory after February 24, 2022

The attitude towards this category is somewhat worse, but not significantly. The index of social distance is 3.73, which is below the average, 44% are ready to allow them into their environment, another 46% agree that they should live in Ukraine (90% in total). Only 10% have a xenophobic attitude towards them. In September 2022, we asked about those who remained in the occupied territory in a slightly different way (Press releases and reports - Do Ukrainians share the "split" narrative: results of a telephone survey conducted on September 7-13, 2022 (kiis.com.ua), respondents had to choose which of the two answer options is closer to their point of view - (1) "The majority of residents who still live in the territories occupied after February 24 continue to live there because they really support the Russians or they simply do not care about Ukraine" or " Most of the residents who still live in the territories occupied after February 24 are victims of circumstances, and they would like the return of Ukraine's control over these territories." 12% chose the first answer, and the majority (72%) believed that the occupied are victims of circumstances and are waiting for the return of the Ukrainian authorities, others did not know what to answer. Finally, in a similar survey in December 2022, 83% expressed sympathy for the occupied Ukrainians, and 6% - condemnation. However, in another study conducted by KMIS for the NGO “Opora” in August 2022 (Research Democracy, rights and freedoms of citizens and media consumption in conditions of war.pdf (kiis.com.ua) a large part of the respondents demanded criminal liability for certain categories of occupied citizens of Ukraine. The state should have a clearer and more understandable communication with those who remained in the occupied territory, so that it is clear what activities fall under the law on collaboration. In general, the situation with the attitude towards the occupied citizens looks satisfactory.

 

Attitude towards Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine

Here, too, the situation looks quite normal. The index of social distance is 3.83, which is below the average, 43% are ready to allow them into their environment, the same number agree that they should live in Ukraine (86% in total). 14% have a xenophobic attitude towards them.

 

Attitude towards citizens of Ukraine who are Russian by nationality

This group is treated the worst of those we have studied this time. The social distance index is 4.71, quite high, only 29% are ready to allow them into their environment, and 35% agree that they should live in Ukraine (64% in total). 36% have a xenophobic attitude towards them. This attitude is obviously irrational and unfair, because the data of sociological researches show that, in general, the views of citizens of Ukraine - ethnic Russians, although somewhat different from the views of ethnic Ukrainians, are not very significant, and these citizens also protect Ukraine from enemies.  Of course, the attitude towards Russian citizens of Ukraine is much better than towards Russian citizens of Russia, 80% of whom would not be allowed into Ukraine even as guests, but still this situation causes concern and can negatively affect the unity of our society. Perhaps there are methodological aspects that affected the results, the situation during the war is so tense that the level of understanding of the questions in which the Russians appear decreases. For many, "Russian" evokes political associations, which is why there is such a deterioration in attitudes and more detailed research, possibly methodological experiments, is needed to understand whether the respondents adequately understand this question. And now many people of Russian nationality call themselves Ukrainians in the survey, because they have exactly such a civic identification. In addition, according to our research data (https://kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=1131&page=9) 78% of those ethnic Russian-speaking Russians who continue to call themselves Russians, primarily consider themselves citizens of Ukraine. 

 

V. Paniotto, comments on the survey results:

 

On March 14, a meeting of the UN Security Council was held at the initiative of Russia regarding "Russophobia" in the world and in Ukraine. It is difficult to give an example of a more cynical action after a year of war and Russia's daily destruction of Ukrainians - men, women, and children. What attitude can people have towards murderers? I note that by 2014, 80-90% of Ukrainians had a positive attitude towards Russia and even more positively towards Russians (Press releases and reports - ATTITUDE OF THE POPULATION OF UKRAINE TOWARDS RUSSIA AND THE POPULATION OF RUSSIA TOWARD UKRAINE, NOVEMBER 2021 (kiis.com.ua), see graph 1.  And sociologists tried to understand the reason for the unrequited love of Ukrainians for Russia (the attitude of Russians was much worse from 30% to 70%). Therefore, a negative attitude, xenophobia and other negative feelings towards Russians - citizens of Russia - is a natural protective mechanism, an adequate and necessary reaction of any normal person.

Unfortunately, as our research shows, these feelings were partially transferred by Ukrainians to citizens of Ukraine who are Russians by nationality. This is an understandable, but not rational and unfair reaction to the actions of the real enemy. Ukrainians who are ethnic Russians, according to research, are now fundamentally different from ethnic Ukrainians on key issues (attitudes towards Russia, the independence of Ukraine, the EU, and NATO) and also defend Ukraine in the ranks of the Armed Forces, as well as through volunteer and other activities.  Citizens of Ukraine are Ukrainians regardless of their ethnic origin, only this approach allows us to preserve the unity of Ukraine. We must clearly distinguish real enemies from compatriots, brothers and sisters who are fighting alongside us. I hope that the government, public organizations, media, and public opinion leaders will fight against this negative trend and contribute to the integration of our society.

 

 

 

Annex 1. Tables

 

Table 1.  What kind of social distance residents of Ukraine are ready to admit representatives of several social categories, %

Agree to admit representatives of these groups as … Refugees who are currently abroad Internally displaced persons (IDPs) Ukrainians who found themselves in the occupied territory after February 24, 2022 Russian-speaking citizens of Ukraine Citizens of Ukraine who are Russian by nationality
...family members 25.6 26.7 22.4 21.4 12.9
...friends 10.0 12.8 11.7 10.9 6.3
...neighbors 8.4 10.9 8.6 8.5 7.9
...colleagues at work 1.7 2.4 1.5 2.5 1.8
...residents of Ukraine 41.5 41.8 45.7 42.7 34.6
...guests of Ukraine 8.4 4.5 3.6 7.5 14.0
Would not let  into Ukraine 4.5 0.9 6.5 6.6 22.5
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Average social distance 3.67 3.37 3.73 3.83 4.71

 

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 recent 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. As of December, the UN estimates the number of Ukrainian refugees at almost 7.9 million. Obviously, due to various reasons, it is difficult to consider these data unequivocally accurate, but in general, the quite significant scale of departure from the country is understandable. There is no exact data on how many of them are adult citizens, but, most likely, it is about half. Among about 30 million adult citizens (estimated at the time of the full-scale invasion), it can be roughly estimated that about 15-20% have left the country, and it is impossible to reliably survey these citizens using telephone interviews. 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, 12% of the respondents of this survey are IDPs).

Another important problem 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 - only 2 respondents out of 2002 surveyed. According to our estimates, the territory occupied by Russia as of the beginning of September (occupied after February 24, 2022) accounted for about 9% of the entire adult population. Taking into account the mass exodus of the population from these territories (most likely, we are talking about at least half of the population), as well as the fact that significant territories of Kharkiv and Kherson regions were liberated from this period, we estimate that no more than 3-5% of the total adult population of Ukraine were unavailable due to communication problems.

In our opinion, a more significant impact on representativeness can be either a generally lower willingness of citizens with "pro-Russian" attitudes to participate in surveys, or the insincerity of those who did take part in the survey (taking into account 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 somewhat lower (although it should be borne in mind that the lower willingness to participate of "pro-Russian" citizens can be compensated by the higher willingness to participate of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens).

We conducted a methodical experiment in May, which shows that the citizens who are currently participating in the surveys in terms of demographic characteristics and meaningful attitudes are close to those who participated in the surveys 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, in the current conditions, this is a rather optimistic indicator.

However, this experiment does not give an answer as to how sincere the respondents are now in their answers. To assess the sincerity of responses to sensitive questions, in July we conducted another experiment using the "imagined acquaintance" method. The results showed that the respondents generally answered the survey questions honestly. That is, we have reason to say that during the interview, the respondents really answer our questions sincerely.        


30.3.2023
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