Ukraine turns 25: achievements and defeats (public opinion)

If a referendum for the independence of Ukraine was held today, 87% of Ukrainians would vote in favor of the act of independence, which is close to the figure during the referendum held in 1991 (89%).  The most notable changes in the perception of citizens were observed in the southern and eastern regions of the country. Read more about the changes in public opinion over 25 years of independence in this press release.

  • If a referendum on the independence of Ukraine was held in August 2016, 87% of the people that came out to vote would have voted in favor of the act regarding independence. – the results of the public opinion polls conducted prior to the referendum in 1991 by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) were 89%. At the same time, these results were considerably higher than those of public opinion polls held in 2006 and 2011 (in 2006, 70% were in favor of independence and 30% were against, while in 2011 – this figure was 67% and 33%, accordingly. The greatest changes if to compare 2006 to 2011 were in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine. In 2006 in the southern regions 57% of the people would have voted for independence, while 43% would have voted against. In 2011, only 47% would have voted in favor, while 53% would have voted against it.  In the eastern regions 49% would have voted in favor of independence, while 49% - against. In 2016, the situation dramatically changed: in the southern regions 78.5% of the people would have voted in favor of independence in a referendum and 21.5% against. In the eastern regions, these figures were 71.5% and 28.5%, accordingly.  
  • The majority of citizens does not consider Ukraine to be a truly independent state – in 2016 only 38% of citizens were firmly convinced of the true independence of their country, while 49% of citizens shared the opposite impression. Over the entire years since 2001 (when this issue was first raised) only in 2005 the majority of citizens considered Ukraine to be truly independent (49% versus 37%).
  • In the assessments of 25 years of transformations in Ukraine, the opinions of citizens were split in half: 41% of the people feel that over this period everything was equally positive and negative, while 41% believed that the situation was more negative. At the same time, 12% of the people are convinced in the positive side. These results were worse than 5 years ago in 2011, when 31% of the people felt that the negative prevailed over the positive, while the majority – 46% – was inclined to the positive and negative sides equally and 13.5% considered that over this period that the situation was more positive than negative. However, the assessments that Ukrainians made prior to the 10th anniversary of Ukraine’s independence were much more negative than today.  Then almost a majority of the people (48%) considered that the situation was more negative, while 37% felt that the negative and positive sides were more equal and only 8% of the people assessed those times as mostly positive.
  • In the opinion of the majority of Ukrainians, the last 25 years have been successful for the country, despite the fact that there were transformations in only three spheres. Namely, the formation of the Ukrainian nation (47% of the surveyed noted success, while 40% considered it a failure), ensuring the equality of rights of men and women (success – 35%, failure – 32%) and guaranteeing the equality of rights of national minorities (success – 42%, failure – 34%).
  • While the majority of citizens believe the transformations in the cultural sphere that were conducted will be unsuccessful, 20-40% believe they will be successful (42% believe they were successful, while 58% do not). Below are figures in other spheres: development of civil society (37% and 56%, accordingly), approval of freedom of speech (34% and 51%), European integration (31% and 55%), building of democracy (31% and 54%), guarantee of the rights and freedoms of people (27% and 62%), education (26% and 63%), ensuring defense capacity (26% and 65%), forming of national state institutions (24% and 52%), enhancing the opportunities of self-realization of people (20% and 70%), conducting foreign policy in the interests of the state (18% and 65%) and holding of free and fair elections (18% and 70%).
  • No more than 10% of citizens believe that the transformation of the forming of a system of fair justice will be successful. Only4% believe it will be successful), while 90% do not, In terms of the fight against corruption, these figures are 6% and 91% accordingly. In the spheres of guarantee of social security (7% and 88%), economic development (8% and 87%), healthcare (9% and 86%), the fight against crime (9% and 85% and the security of socially susceptible groups (10% and 84%).
  • Nearly half of the population – 49% – is certain that Ukraine can overcome these problems and hardships it currently faces, albeit in the distant future, 17% of the people hope this will happen n the next several years, while 24% feel that Ukraine is not capable of achieving this goal.
  • The majority of Ukrainians (54%) believe that democracy is the most desired form of state governance for Ukraine, while 20% support an authoritarian regime and for 15% the form of a regime is insignificant. Notable is the fact that in comparison with the results over the years 2004-2013, in 2006 the support of democracy was the highest, while in December 2009 was the lowest on the eve of the presidential elections when Viktor Yanukovych was elected.
    Nationwide public opinion polling in Ukraine was organized and held by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology from August 4-19, 2016. Polling was held in 110 populated settlements in Ukrainian oblasts with the exception of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea. Polling in the Luhansk and Donetsk oblasts was conducted only on the territories controlled by Ukraine. During the field stage, 2,040 questionnaires were collected. The margin of error did not exceed 2.3%. Public opinion polls ar financed by the MATRA program of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. For comparison, data of nationwide research of the public opinion of Ukrainians compiled in different years by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razukov Center are provided.