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Dynamics of trust in social institutions in 2021-2023

The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, executive director of KIIS


From November 29 to December 9, 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), 1,031 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 Ukrainian authorities 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 abroad.

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 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. KIIS previously cited factors that can affect the quality of results in "wartime" conditions.

In general, we believe that the obtained results are still highly representative for the population of Ukraine living in the territory under the control of the Government, and allow a fairly reliable analysis of the public moods of the population.



Dynamics of trust in individual institutions in 2021-2023


One of the most important, marker indicators of the state of society and public opinion is the level of trust in individual institutions. KIIS regularly asks questions about trust in various surveys. At the same time, you need to take into account the methodological dimension - there is no single standard for question formulation. In particular, the wording of the question itself and which scale is used play an important role. For a correct analysis of the dynamics, questions and scales must be the same.

For a long period KIIS every December asks its own question "Now I will name some social institutions and public figures. Tell me, please, how much you trust those whom I will name." The following options are read to the respondent: "completely trust", "rather trust", "difficult to say", "rather do not trust", "completely do not trust" (we emphasize that the option "difficult to say" was also read as an intermediate between trust and do not trust, because it affects the results). For now, we offer a look at what trust in individual institutions was in December 2021 (before the invasion), in December 2022 (after the invasion but after the successes of late 2021) and in December 2023 (now).

Graph 3 shows the dynamics of trust in authorities (the President, the Verkhovna Rada, the Government), the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine, and the National Police. Graph 4 shows trust in institutions in the sphere of ensuring justice - prosecutors and courts. Finally, graph 5 shows trust in the church, Ukrainian mass media and volunteers.

Compared to December 2022, criticism of the authorities is growing. In particular, the share of those who trust the Verkhovna Rada decreased from 35% to 15%, and the share of those who do not trust it increased from 34% to 61%. Trust in the Government decreased from 52% to 26%, distrust increased from 19% to 44%. Although there is also a downward trend in the case of the President, he retains the overwhelming trust of the Ukrainian public. Yes, currently 62% trust the President, while 18% do not. In December 2022, 84% trusted the President, 5% did not. Accordingly, if the trust-distrust balance for the President in December 2022 was +80%, now it is +42%. That is, on the one hand, we see a significant decrease, but on the other hand, it remains unequivocally positive with a significant preponderance of those who trust the President compared to those who do not trust him.

The Armed Forces retain absolute trust in society - as in December 2022, and now 96% trust the Armed Forces. In addition, 88% of Ukrainians trust V. Zaluzhnyi(do not trust - only 4%).

Trust in the Security Service of Ukraine has decreased slightly, but currently the majority of Ukrainians trust it - 58% against 16% who do not trust it (in December 2022, 63% trusted the Security Service of Ukraine, 9% did not trust it). At the same time, trust in the police decreased more significantly - from 58% in December 2022 to 41% now (distrust increased from 14% to 29%).


Graph 1. Now I will name some social institutions and public figures. Tell me, please, how much you trust those whom I will name.


Authorities, Armed Forces, SBU, National Police


In the current situation, it is important to understand how the fields of trust in the President and the Commander-in-Chief "intersect". In the table, the sum of all cells is 100% and shows, for example, what proportion of Ukrainians trust the President and the Commander-in-Chief at the same time.

The majority of Ukrainians - 59% - at the same time trust both the President and Commander-in-Chief V. Zaluzhnyi. The share of Ukrainians who have polarized views is quite small. Yes, only 14% trust V. Zaluzhnyi and at the same time do not trust the President, and only 1% trust the President but do not trust V. Zaluzhnyi. 


Table 1. Cross-section of respondents’ answers to questions about trust in the President and Commander-in-Chief V. Zaluzhnyi

100%sum of all cells in the table Trust in the Commander-in-Chief V. Zaluzhnyi
Trust Difficult to say Do not trust Total
Trust in the President Trust 59 2 1 62
Difficult to say 15 4 1 20
Do not trust 14 2 1 18
Total 88 8 4 100


Trust in courts and prosecutors is critically low with a significant deterioration compared to last year. Only 12% of Ukrainians trust the courts and only 9% trust prosecutors. Do not trust - respectively, 61% and 64%. In December 2022, the courts were trusted by 25%, prosecutors by 21%, but more importantly, there were significantly fewer (in half) those who did not trust them.


Graph2. Now I will name some social institutions and public figures. Tell me, please, how much you trust those whom I will name.


Courts and prosecutors


Volunteers are highly trusted in Ukraine - 84% trust them and only 3% do not trust them (in December 2022, the indicators were almost identical).

Ukrainian mass media have significantly lost trust, whose trust indicators have returned to the level of December 2021. So, over the last year, those who trust Ukrainian mass media decreased from 57% to 29% (in contrast, those who do not trust them increased from 14% to 40%).

In addition, the Church is steadily losing the trust of the public. Between December 2021 and December 2022, trust in the Church decreased from 51% to 44%, between December 2022 and December 2023 - from 44% to 38%.  


Graph3. Now I will name some social institutions and public figures. Tell me, please, how much you trust those whom I will name.


Church, Ukrainian mass media, volunteers


Dynamics of trust in individual institutions between December 2022 and December 2023 in the section of regions



Criticism of the authorities has increased in all regions, although at the same time in all regions the majority trust the President.

In addition, in all regions, the absolute majority trust the AFU, V. Zaluzhnyi and volunteers.


Table 2. Trust in institutions in the regional dimension


% trust


% in a row West Center South East
2022 2023 2022 2023 2022 2023 2022 2023
President of Ukraine 85 58 86 68 84 60 78 54
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 34 13 40 17 34 15 25 13
Government of Ukraine 50 22 55 29 50 27 49 26
Commander-in-Chief V. Zaluzhnyi --- 90 --- 90 --- 83 --- 90
Armed Forces of Ukraine 98 98 97 97 95 92 94 96
SBU 62 56 63 63 67 52 52 58
National Police 57 42 60 44 61 38 52 41
Courts 26 14 28 10 24 15 16 12
Prosecutors 22 10 24 7 19 10 14 14
Church 54 50 40 37 38 32 42 24
Ukrainian mass media 61 26 58 31 55 31 47 21
Volunteers 86 86 82 85 87 79 82 88


A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:


Increasing criticism and decreasing trust in the authorities is most likely the result of, on the one hand, unrealized expectations for this year and, on the other hand, claims about the efficiency and transparency of activities. It is important that, at the same time, criticism does not turn into demands for elections (now the absolute majority is against any elections), and that the majority of Ukrainians retain trust in the President. The President maintains a high level of legitimacy, which is definitely necessary for maintaining the manageability of state institutions in this difficult period and for conducting difficult negotiations with Western partners.

A fundamentally important result is that in Ukraine, 59% of Ukrainians trust both the President and the Commander-in-Chief at the same time. Ukrainians demand unity, and therefore the actions of individual representatives of the authorities in attempts to discredit the Commander-in-Chief cause sharp rejection in society. Ukrainians do not believe in the accusations that may be made against V. Zaluzhnyi (even more, it can be assumed that such accusations boomerang negatively affect the government itself). At the same time, some opposition politicians, critical journalists and representatives of the public sector stubbornly promote the narrative of the split "good V. Zaluzhnyi - bad V. Zelenskyi". As we can see, this does not correspond to the public opinion of Ukrainians, and the majority of Ukrainians wisely trust both the President and the Commander-in-Chief.

We hope and once again urge the authorities, the opposition, journalists and the public sector to act only within constructive limits. Yes, criticism of the authorities is an important component of the democratic process - but only if they are constructive and not an uncompromising "crusade" (which is clearly evident in certain opposition politicians, journalists, public activists). In turn, the government should keep communication channels open for sincere dialogue, respond reasonedly and cooperate with everyone who cares about the fate of Ukraine and Ukrainians.

The situation with critically low trust in courts and prosecutors requires special attention. In December 2022, we were capturing a window of opportunity when relatively few people distrusted them. Now the window of opportunity has narrowed considerably. The public demands justice, therefore the helpless inefficiency and corruption of the courts and the prosecutor's office in ensuring justice only deepens public dislike for these institutions and creates a strong source of instability in the country.



Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire


Now I will name some social institutions and public figures. Tell me, please, how much you trust those whom I will name.

  Completely trust Rather trust Difficult to say Rather do not trust Completely do not trust
President of Ukraine / Supreme Commander-in-Chief President of Ukraine 1 2 3 4 5
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 1 2 3 4 5
Government of Ukraine 1 2 3 4 5
Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi 1 2 3 4 5
Armed forces of Ukraine 1 2 3 4 5
SBU 1 2 3 4 5
National police 1 2 3 4 5
Church 1 2 3 4 5
Ukrainian mass media 1 2 3 4 5
Prosecutors 1 2 3 4 5
Courts 1 2 3 4 5
Volunteers 1 2 3 4 5


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