Kyiv, 28 April 2014 – The southeast of Ukraine wants disarmament, safety and better standard of living. At the same time, the residents of the region are opposed to federalization and do not see any infringement of the rights of the Russian speaking citizens in Ukraine. About 70% of the local population do not support the idea of the secession of Ukraine’s regions, and roughly the same percentage of the southeast residents believe Victor Yanukovych’s presidency to be illegitimate.
These and other findings of an opinion poll conducted in the southeast of Ukraine by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) in April 2014 were summarized by Inna Vedernikova, a political columnist at the Mirror of the Week newspaper, at a press briefing at the Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
According to KIIS sociologist Svitlana Khutka, “federalization and language issue are not a priority for the residents of the southeast.” Ms. Khutka said that 76.5% of the residents of the southeast are not ready to take to the streets to support the accession of some regions to Russia, and the idea as such is not supported by approximately 70% of the southeast population. More than 64% of the locals believe that Ukraine should be a unitary state and only 11.8% view federalization as a way to preserve the country’s unity.
Presenting the survey findings on the language issue, Svitlana Khutko said that only 6.5% of the residents of the southeastern region are concerned about one language being forced upon them, and about 11% would like Russian to become the second official language.
Commenting on the attitude of the southeast residents towards Victor Yanukovych and this winter’s events at Maidan in Kyiv, the sociologist said: “Approximately 70% of respondents do not consider Victor Yanukovych to be a legitimate President of Ukraine, and almost 42% of the local population think that what happened at Maidan was a civil protest against corruption and Yanukovych’s lawless dictatorship. Furthermore, approximately 57% of the population of the region believe Victor Yanukovych (45.1%) and the Party of Regions (17.2%) to be responsible for Maidan deaths.”
According to the sociologist, it is notable that more than 86% of the locals think that not only former President Yanukovych should be brought to justice but also the ministers, governors, attorneys and judges who participated in the corrupt activities and violation of laws during his presidency.
The KIIS survey showed that most of the residents of the southeastern region (approximately 77%) do not support the actions of those who seize public buildings in some regions of Ukraine with guns in their hands. In addition, more than 54% of the local population think that Russia is illegally interfering with Ukraine’s home affairs and that Russia’s actions are driven by its wish to annex Ukraine – an opinion maintained by 40.7% of the southeast residents.
The survey entitled “Opinions and View of the Population of Southeastern Ukraine: April 2014” was conducted by KIIS on 8 – 16 April 2014. The findings are representative of the population aged 18 and more living in each of the 8 southeastern regions of Ukraine (Odessa, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Kharkiv, Lugansk, Dnipropetrovks, Zaporizhya, Donetsk). A total of 3232 interviews were held with respondents living in 160 localities in the south and east of Ukraine (1476 interviews were conducted by phone and 1756 were conducted personally).
Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) is one of the leading research companies in Ukraine offering its clients a full spectrum of research solutions. KIIS has membership of major research associations, among others, the Sociological Association of Ukraine, European Society for Opinion and Marketing Research (ESOMAR), AAPOR and WAPOR. Professor Volodymyr Paniotto, the Director General of KIIS, was the first national representative of ESOMAR in Ukraine in 1996–2005.