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

 
    • In Ukraine, in September 2019, 54% of the Ukrainians responded that they were positive or very positive about Russia, 35% were negative or very negative, 12% were hesitating;

    • For the entire period of observations (from 2008 to 2019), the Ukrainians have a more positive attitude toward Russia than the Russians do towards Ukraine. In September 2019, for the first time in the period of monitoring, the number of those in Russia who are positive about Ukraine is bigger than the number of the Ukrainians who feel positively about Russia – 56%.Also, 31% ­held bad or very bad attitude toward Ukraine, that is, now the Russians feel better about Ukraine than the Ukrainians do about Russia (56% compared to 54%, the difference is small, it is 2 percentage points).

    • Compared to September 2018, that is, over the year, the support for the independence of Ukraine (the percentage of those who want Ukraine to be an independent on Russia state) has increased by 2 percentage points – from 88% to 90%. The general tendency remained unchanged: 90% of the population believe that Ukraine should be an independent state.

    • In Russia, compared to September 2018, the number of those who want closed borders with Ukraine has decreased significantly (from 32% to 23%). There is an oppositesituation with the independence without borders and customs – the number of supporters of this idea increased by 9 percentage points (from 43% to 54%). Insignificantly, but the number of those who want to unite in one state also increased (from 16% to 19%).

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 (an autonomous non-commercial organization “Levada-Center” was forcedly included in the register of non-commercial organizations of Russia that act as foreign agents. The statement of the director of Levada-Center, who does not agree with this decision, can be found here.)

 On September 6–16, 2019, Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted an own all-Ukrainian public opinion poll. Data were collected from 2035 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 September 26 – October 2, 2019, with a sample of 1601 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 question 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 the war actions in Donbas. The attitude of the Ukrainians to Russia improved somewhat again after the end of the intense military action. In September 2019, 54% of the Ukrainians treated Russia positively or very positively, 35% - negatively or very negatively, 12% have not decided on their choice yet.
      • In September 2019, for the first time in the period of monitoring, the number of those in Russia who feel positively about Ukraine is bigger than the number of the Ukrainians who feel positively about Russia – 56%.Also, 31% ­held bad or very bad attitude toward Ukraine, that is, now the Russians feel better about Ukraine than the Ukrainians do about Russia (56% compared to 54% - the difference is small, it is 2 percentage points).

 

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 feel positively or very positively about the other country)

 
  • The attitude of the Ukrainians to Russia differs significantly depending on the region: 34% are positive about Russia in the West, 47% - in the Center, 65% – in the South, 85% – in the East.
  • The dynamics of answers to the question “What type of the relations between Ukraine and Russia would you prefer?” 

    • Compared to September 2018, that is, over the year, the support for the independence of Ukraine (the percentage of those who want Ukraine to be an independent on Russia state) has increased by 2 percentage points – from 88% to 90%. So the general tendency remained unchanged: 90% of the population believe that Ukraine should be an independent state.
    • At the same time, compared to September 2018, the number of those who want closed borders with Russia has increased slightly (from 39% to 41%), and the number of those who want independent relations, but without borders and customs, remained practically changed (decreased from 50% to 49%). Also, 3% of the Ukrainians want to unite in one country (there were 4% of them in September 2018, the difference is not significant).
    • In Russia, compared to September 2018, the number of those who want closed borders with Ukraine has decreased significantly (from 32% to 23%). There is an oppositesituation with the independence without borders and customs – the number of supporters of this idea increased by 9 percentage points (from 43% to 54%). Insignificantly, but the number of those who want to unite in one state also increased (from 16% to 19%).

     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).

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 54%), while the positive attitude of the Russians toward Ukraine varied within the margin of sampling error, and constituted about a third of the population (32-34%), over the past few months it rapidly became better and increased by 20 percentage points.

In both countries, the positive attitude towards the state is, first of all, determined by the positive attitude towards the population of the state. For instance, in February 2019, 77% of the Ukrainians felt positive about the Russians, while the attitude toward the Russian government was sharply negative and only 13% of Ukrainians were positively attached to the leadership of Russia. A similar situation is observed with the attitude of the Russians toward Ukraine: 82% of the citizens of Russia felt positive about the Ukrainians, and only 7% of the Russians were positive about the leadership of Ukraine.

What a significant improvement in the attitude of the Russians to Ukraine might be due to? According to Karina Pipiia, the Levina-Center expert, both the fact of Zelenskyi's victory in the elections and the Russians' hope that it would lead to better relations played a significant role here. It seems to me that the direct influence of the Russian leadership on media policy is also a possible factor here. For example, Putin stated that the media should not give negative information about Ukraine (Gordon. Putin criticized those Russian media that paint an ugly picture of Ukraine https://gordonua.com/news/politics/putin-raskritikoval-smi-rf-kotorye-vystavlyayut-ukrainu-v-nevygodnom-svete-1323995.html ). But this is only a hypothesis, moreover, Putin`s statement was made after the study has been conducted.

What the significant improvement in the attitude of the Ukrainians to Russia and the Russians that has taken place over the last year might be due to? One possible hypothesis is the election campaign and the intensification of the work of pro-Russian political forces and television channels. Another possible reason is the hope for better relations and peace.

 

Addition 1. Formulations of the questions from the questionnaire

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

Relations between Ukraine and Russia 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
DIFFICULT TO SAY/DO NOT KNOW 9

 

What is your general attitude toward Russia?

very positive 1  mostly negative 3 DIFFICULT TO SAY/DENIAL FROM ANSWERING 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;

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

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

Addition 3.  TABLES

Table 1. What is your general attitude toward Ukraine/Russia?

ATTITUDE IN UKRAINE TO RUSSIA, % ATTITUDE IN RUSSIA TO UKRAINE, %
Date very positive/ mostly positive  mostly negative/ very negative  DIFFICULT TO SAY TOTAL Date very positive/ mostly positive  mostly negative/ very negative  DIFFICULT 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
Dec.14 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 Dec.17 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
Sep.19 54 35 12 100 Sep.19 56 31 13 100

 

Table 2. What is your general attitude toward RussiaDistribution by regions, September 2019, %

  Ukraine in general, % Western Central South Eastern
Very positive 4 14 23 28 4
Mostly positive 30 33 42 57 30
Mostly negative 27 26 10 4 27
Very negative 30 15 10 3 30
DIFFICULT TO SAY/DENIAL FROM ANSWERING 12 9 12 16 8
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

 

Table 3. What type of the relations between Ukraine and 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 Difficult 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.2018 38 50 4 8 100
Feb.2019 39 48 4 9 100
Sep.19 41 49 3 7 100

 

  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 Difficult 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
Sep.11 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
Sep.19 23 54 19 4 100

 

Press release by V.Paniotto, the CEO of KIIS, and T.Piaskovska, KIIS PR-manager

 


15.10.2019
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