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Attitude of the population of Ukraine toward Russia and of the population of Russia toward Ukraine, February 2019

Press-releas by Volodymyr Paniotto, CEO of KIIS


  • In Ukraine, in February 2019, 57% of the Ukrainians responded that they were positive or very positive about Russia, 27% were negative or very negative, 17% were hesitating; 77% of the Ukrainians had positive attitude to the Russians (the citizens of Russia), 13% – to the leadership of Russia (mainly at the expense of the East and Donbas). Positive attitude towards Russia is due mainly to a positive attitude towards the Russians (Russian citizens).

  • For the entire period of observations (from 2008 to 2019), the Ukrainians were better about Russia than the Russians were about Ukraine. In February 2019, 34% of the population of Ukraine had good or very good attitude to Russia, 55% ­– bad or very bad, that is, now the Ukrainians are much better about Russia than the Russians are about Ukraine (57% compared to 34%, that is, the difference is 23 percentage points).

  • Compared to February 2018, the support for the independence of Ukraine (the percentage of those who want Ukraine to be an independent on Russia state) remains the same (87%). The general tendency remained unchanged: almost 90% of the population believe that Ukraine should be an independent state. However, compared to February 2018, the number of those who want closed borders with Russia decreased (from 44% to 39%), and the number of those who want independent relations but with no visas and customs increased (from 44% to 48%).

  • In Russia, compared to March 2018, the number of those who want closed borders with Ukraine also decreased (from 39% to 25%).

 

The press release contains the results of a conjoint project of Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and Russian non-governmental research organization “Levada-Center”. The project has been going on since 2008 (autonomous non-commercial organization “Levada-Center” was forcedly included to the register of non-commercial organizations of Russia that act as a foreign agent. Statement by the director of Levada-Center, who does not agree with this decision, see here.)

 

On February 8–20, 2019, Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted an own all-Ukrainian public opinion poll. Data were collected from 2042 respondents living in 110 settlements (PSU) in all oblasts of Ukraine (except for the AR of Crimea) with the method of personal interviewing. The sample was stochastic, 4-staged, and is representative of the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above.

In Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts survey was conducted only in the territories that are controlled by the Ukrainian government.

The statistical sampling error (with a probability of 0.95 and for a design effect of 1.5) does not exceed: 3.3% — for indexes close to 50%, 2.8% — for indexes close to 25%, 2.0% — for indexes close to 10%, 1.4% — for indexes close to 5%.

 

“Levada-Center” conducted the poll on February 15-20, 2019 with the sample of 1600 people aged 18 and above, that is representative of the population of Russia. The poll was conducted in 137 settlements in 50 subjects of the Russian Federation, the study was conducted at respondents` homes using the method of personal interviewing.

 

The statistical sampling error (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed: 3.4% — for indexes close to 50%, 2.9% — for indexes close to 25% / 75%, 2.0% — for indexes close to 10% / 90%, 1.5% — for indexes close to 5% / 95%.

 

During the study, the Ukrainians, as usual, 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?”

  • The Ukrainians had a better attitude toward Russia than the Russians to Ukraine over the entire period of observation (see Chart 1). The sharp decline in the positive attitude of the Ukrainians toward Russia (from 90% to 30%) was observed after the annexation of the Crimea and the beginning of war actions in the Donbas, but after the end of the intense military action, the attitude of the Ukrainians to Russia improved somewhat again.

 

Graph 1. Dynamics of the positive attitude of the population of Ukraine to Russia and of the population of Russia to Ukraine (% of those who are positive or very positive about the other country)

  • In February 2019, 57% of the Ukrainians responded they had a positive or very positive attitude toward Russia, 27% had a negative or very negative attitude, 17% were undecided. In Russia, 34% of the population had positive or very positive attitude to Ukraine, 55% – negative or very negative, 10% were undecided on that matter. The Ukrainians are much more positive about Russia than the Russians are about Ukraine (57% compared to 34%, that is, the difference is 23 percentage points).

  • In addition to questions about the attitude toward Russia as a whole, we also asked questions about the attitude to the government of Russia and the population of Russia. In February 2019, 77% of the Ukrainians had a positive attitude to the Russians (the citizens of Russia), and 13% had a positive attitude to the political leaders of Russia (mostly at the expense of the population of Eastern region and Donbas). Similar indicators are observed for Russia: 82% of the Russians were positive about the Ukrainians (the citizens of Ukraine), and 7% were positive about the government of Ukraine. The Russians are more positive about the Ukrainians than the Ukrainians are to the Russians by 7 percentage points. Thus, the positive attitude of the Ukrainians toward Russia is mainly due to the positive attitude toward the Russians (as well as the positive attitude of the Russians toward Ukraine is associated with a positive attitude toward the Ukrainians).

 

Table 1. Percentage of those who have positive (positive or very positive) attitude to Russia, the Russians, the government of Russia. February 2019

  Positive (positive or very positive) attitude to…
Region Russia Government of Russia The Russians
Western 41% 4% 71%
Central 51% 11% 70%
Southern 70% 14% 85%
Eastern 75% 34% 87%
Ukraine 57% 13% 77%

 

  • The attitude of the Ukrainians to Russia relies significantly on the region: 41% are positive about Russia in the West, 51% - in the Center, 70% – in the South, 75% – in the East (see Table 1). The same is observed in the attitudes to the government of Russia and the Russians.

The dynamics of answers to the question “What type of the relations between Ukraine and Russia would you prefer?” 

  • Compared to February 2018, that is, in a year, the support for the independence of Ukraine (percentage of those who believe Ukraine should be independent on Russia) remains the same – 87%. That is, the general tendency remains the same: almost 90% of the population believe that Ukraine should be an independent state. At the same time, compared to 2018, the number of those who want closed borders with Russia decreased (from 44% to 39%), and the number of those who want independent relations but with no visas and customs increased (from 44% to 48%). Also, 4% of the polled Ukrainians want to unite in one state (it was 3% in February 2018, the difference is statistically insignificant).

  • In Russia, compared to the data from March 2018, the number of those who want closed borders with Ukraine decreased from 39% to 25%, and the number of those who want to unite in one state increased from 10% to 17%.

 

Commentary of Volodymyr Paniotto, the CEO of KIIS:

Over the last year, the attitude of the Ukrainians toward Russia has improved significantly (from 48% to 57%), while the positive attitude of the Russians toward Ukraine varied within the margin of sampling error, and as of now, it constitutes about a third of the population (32-34%). The positive attitude towards the state is, first of all, determined by the positive attitude towards the population both in Ukraine and in Russia (77% of the Ukrainians feel positive about the Russians, and even more Russians (Russian citizens) are positive about the Ukrainians - 82%). At the same time, the attitude toward the government is sharply negative (only 13% of Ukrainians are positively attached to the leadership of Russia, and only 7% of Russians – to the leadership of Ukraine).

 

What could be a significant improvement in the attitude of the Ukrainians toward Russia and the Russians, which occurred during the last year, due to? One of the possible hypotheses is the election campaign and activation of the work of pro-Russian political forces and television channels.

 

Graph 2. What type of 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 two first columns of  Table 6, that is, the percentage of those who want the independence with closed borders and customs and of those who prefer the independence without borders and customs (see tables below).

 

Addition 1. Formulations of the questions from the questionnaire

 

 

What type of relations between Ukraine and Russia would you prefer? ONE ANSWER

Relations should be the same as with other countries - with closed borders, visa, and customs 1
Ukraine and Russia should be independent but friendly states - with no visa, no customs and with open borders 2
Ukraine and Russia should unite in one country 3
HARD TO SAY/DO NOT KNOW 9

 

What is your general attitude toward Russia?

very positive 1 mostly negative 3 HARD TO SAY / DENIAL FROM ANSWERING  9
mostly positive 2  very negative 4

 

What is your general attitude toward the Russians (the residents of Russia)?

very positive 1 mostly negative 3 HARD TO SAY 9
mostly positive 2  very negative 4    

 

What is your general attitude toward the Russian government?

very positive 1 mostly negative 3 HARD TO SAY 9
mostly positive 2  very negative 4    

 

 

Addition 2. Composition of the regions of Ukraine

 

Western macroregion –  Volynska, Zakarpatska, Ivano-Frankivska, Lvivska, Rivnenska, Ternopilska, Khmelnytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts (regions); 

 

Central macroregion –  Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vinnytska, Zhytomyrska, Kirovohradska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska, Chernihivska oblasts; 

 

South macroregion – Dnipropetrovska, Zaporizka, Mykolaivska, Odeska, Khersonska oblasts; 

 

Eastern macroregion –  Kharkivska, Donetska, Luhanska oblasts (only regions controlled by Ukraine).

 

                                                                                                                                                                                                  Addition 3. TABLES 

 

Table 2. What is your general attitude toward Russia/Ukraine?

 

ATTITUDE IN UKRAINE TO RUSSIA, % ATTITUDE IN RUSSIA TO UKRAINE, %
Date very positive/ mostly positive  mostly negative/ very negative  HARD TO SAY TOTAL Date very positive/ mostly positive  mostly negative/ very negative  HARD TO SAY TOTAL
Apr.08 88 7 5 100 Mar.08 55 33 12 100
Sep.08 88 9 3 100 Sep.08 38 53 10 100
Feb.09 91 5 4 100 Jan.09 29 62 10 100
May 09 93 4 3 100 May 09 33 56 11 100
Oct.09 92 6 3 100 Sep.09 46 44 10 100
Mar.10 90 6 4 100 Mar.10 59 29 12 100
Jun.10 92 6 3 100 Jul.10 70 22 9 100
Oct.10 93 4 3 100 Oct.10 67 21 12 100
Nov.11 80 13 7 100 Sep.11 68 23 9 100
Feb.12 85 9 6 100 Jan.12 64 25 12 100
Sep.12 83 11 6 100 Sep.12 74 17 10 100
Feb.13 85 8 7 100 Feb.13 69 21 9 100
May 13 81 10 9 100 May 13 72 18 9 100
Nov.13 82 10 8 100 Sep.13 69 22 8 100
Feb.14 78 13 9 100 Jan.14 66 26 9 100
May 14 52 38 10 100 May 14 35 49 17 100
Sep.14 48 41 11 100 Sep.14 32 55 13 100
Dec14 37 48 16 100 Jan. 15 24 63 13 100
Feb.15 34 51 15 100 Mar.15 31 56 13 100
May 15 30 56 14 100 May 15 26 59 14 100
Sep.15 34 53 13 100 Sep.15 33 56 11 100
Feb.16 36 47 13 100 Feb.16 27 59 14 100
May 16 42 43 15 100 May 16 39 47 13 100
Sep.16 40 46 14 100 Sep.16 26 56 17 100
Dec.16 40 47 13 100 Dec.16 34 54 13 100
Feb.17 39 46 15 100 Jan.17 34 54 13 100
May 17 44 37 19 100 May 17 26 59 15 100
Sep. 17 37 46 17 100 Sep.17 32 53 15 100
Dec.17 42 39 19 100 Dec17 28 56 17 100
Feb.18 45 38 18 100 Mar.18 33 55 12 100
Sep.18 48 32 19 100 Sep.18 33 56 12 100
Feb.19 57 27 17 100 Feb.19 34 55 10 100

 

Table 3. What is your general attitude toward RussiaDistribution by regions, September 2018, %

  Ukraine in general, % Western Central South Eastern
Very positive 15 8 10 18 33
Mostly positive 42 33 41 52 42
Mostly negative 15 17 21 8 6
Very negative 12 24 13 5 3
HARD TO SAY/DENIAL FROM ANSWERING 17 18 16 16 15
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

 

Table 4. What type of relations of Ukraine with Russia would you prefer?
 
  IN UKRAINE
Date Relations should be the same as with other countries - with closed borders, visa, and customs Ukraine and Russia should be independent but friendly states - with no visa, no customs and with open borders Ukraine and Russia should unite in one country Hard to say Total
Apr.08 10 67 20 3 100
Sep.08 17 66 16 2 100
Feb.09 8 68 23 1 100
May 09 10 65 23 2 100
Oct.09 11 67 19 3 100
Mar.10 11 67 19 3 100
Jun.10 12 70 16 2 100
Oct.10 10 67 20 2 100
Nov.11 13 67 16 1 100
Feb.12 13 69 16 2 100
Sep.12 11 72 14 3 100
Feb.13 13 68 16 3 100
May 13 11 69 14 5 100
Nov.13 12 73 9 6 100
Feb.14 15 68 12 5 100
May 14 32 54 8 5 100
Sep.14 45 44 5 6 100
Dec.14 50 42 3 5 100
Feb.15 48 43 4 6 100
May 15 45 46 2 7 100
Sep.15 46 45 2 7 100
Feb.16 42 43 4 11 100
May 16 44 44 3 9 100
Sep.16 49 43 3 6 100
Dec.16 45 46 3 7 100
Feb.17 47 43 2 7 100
May 17 43 47 4 6 100
Sep.17 49 40 4 8 100
Dec.17 45 40 4 11 100
Feb.18 44 44 3 9 100
Sep.18 38 50 4 8 100
Feb.19 39 48 4 9 100

 

 

  IN RUSSIA
Date Relations should be the same as with other countries - with closed borders, visa, and customs Ukraine and Russia should be independent but friendly states - with no visa, no customs and with open borders Ukraine and Russia should unite in one country Hard to say Total
Mar.08  19  56  19  100
Sep. 08  24  52  13  11  100
Jan. 09  29  51  12  100
Jun. 09  25  55  14  100
Sep. 09  25  55  13  100
Jan. 10  25  55  14  100
May 10  17  64  13  100
Sep. 10  16  60  18  100
Sep11 16 63 14 6 100
Jan.12 16 61 16 8 100
Sep.12 14 60 20 6 100
Feb.13 13 64 18 6 100
May 13 19 58 15 8 100
Sep.13 23 55 16 6 100
Jan.14 19 59 16 6 100
May 14 28 54 12 6 100
Sep.14 26 62 7 5 100
Jan. 15 32 53 7 8 100
May 15 30 54 10 6 100
Sep.15 25 59 8 7 100
Feb.16 32 52 11 5 100
May 16 36 53 7 4 100
Sep.16 39 48 8 6 100
Dec.16 33 53 9 5 100
Jan.17 33 53 9 5 100
May 17 35 50 9 5 100
Sep.17 34 49 11 6 100
Dec.17 33 49 10 8 100
Mar.18 39 45 10 5 100
Sep.2018 32 45 16 6 100
Feb.2019 25 52 17 6 100

 

 

Table 5. What type of relations of Ukraine with Russia would you prefer? Distribution by regions, February 2019, %

  Ukraine in general, % Western Central South Eastern
Relations should be the same as with other countries 46 50 23 22 46
Ukraine and Russia should be independent but friendly states 37 37 66 61 37
Ukraine and Russia should unite in one country 5 3 4 7 5
HARD TO SAY 10 9 7 8 10
DENIAL FROM ANSWERING 2 1 0 2 2
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

 

Table 6. What is your general attitude toward the Russian government?

 (opinion of the residents of Ukraine  – KIIS data)

  Sep.14 May 16 Feb.19
very positive 9 2 4
mostly positive 12 6 9
mostly negative 10 14 22
very negative 59 66 47
HARD TO SAY 10 12 18

 

Table 7. What is your general attitude toward the Russians (the residents of Russia)?

(opinion of the residents of Ukraine  – KIIS data)

  Sep.14 May 16 Feb.19
very positive 21 15 23
mostly positive 53 52 54
mostly negative 12 12 9
very negative 6 10 5
HARD TO SAY 8 12 9
 

LEVADA-CENTER DATA

 

Table 8. What is your general attitude toward the Ukrainian government?

 (opinion of the residents of Russia – Levada-Center data)

  May 14 Sep.14 Feb.15 May 15 Sep.15 Feb.16 Feb.19
very positive 3 1 1 1 1 2 1
mostly positive 9 7 5 5 4 2 6
mostly negative 29 39 33 27 32 29 21
very negative 50 47 56 59 55 58 64
HARD TO SAY 10 6 6 8 7 10 8

 

Table 9. What is your general attitude toward the Ukrainians (the residents of Ukraine)?

 (opinion of the residents of Russia – Levada-Center data)

  Oct.06 May09 May14 Sep.14 Feb.15 May15 Sep.15 Feb.16 Feb.19
very positive 10 7 22 9 13 14 11 8 25
mostly positive 71 68 59 52 50 50 52 51 57
mostly negative 11 15 10 21 19 18 18 19 8
very negative 2 3 2 5 6 7 7 8 5
HARD TO SAY 6 7 7 14 12 11 12 14 6

 

 

 


12.3.2019
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