2016 demonstrates that poverty rate in Ukraine remained the same as last year, there is active corruption fighting and the challenge for 2017 is economic growth.
86 percent of citizens believe the Ukraine’s leadership is moving in the wrong direction. This was stated by Volodymyr Paniotto, general director of Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, at a discussion held at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
The research demonstrates that 87% of the population consider economic situation in Ukraine “poor”, 69% do not trust the President, and 82% do not trust the Parliament. “From 2014 to 2015, the poverty rate doubled, and from 2015 to 2016 it remained almost unchanged,” said the sociologist. According to the research, the dynamics of feeling happy decreased due to military operations in Eastern Ukraine. There are also some positive aspects – reducing corruption and increasing proportion of Internet users that indicate overall awareness of the population. The media changed the way they work and notably there is more freedom of action.
“As to the government’s activities towards strengthening the country’s defense – the estimate has “successfully” increased by 6% over the year, decentralization has increased by 10%, social protection – from 5 to 9%; support for small and medium businesses – from 5% to 8%,” specified Oleksiy Antypovych, director of the sociological group “Rating”. Support rate of key politicians over 12 month is the following: the rating of Yulia Tymoshenko increased from 13 to 18%, Petro Poroshenko – decreased from 23 to 14%, Oleh Lyashko – from 8 to 9%, Andriy Sadovyi – decreased from 11 to 8% , Nadiya Savchenko – decreased from 10 to 2%.
Oleksiy Antypovych highlighted the main events which were Ukraine’s most notable victories. Number one was Jamala’s victory at the Eurovision Song Contest, then – the results of Ukrainian Paralympic team at the Olympics and the whole team, Nadiya Savchenko’s release from captivity, creation of an electronic resource on government procurement, defense reform and others. Konstantyn Matvienko, writer, journalist, addressed the individual perception of the situation in the country as “not so bad”.
The major government’s failure in 2016, according to Oleksiy Antypovych, is sabotaging investigations of crimes committed during the Revolution of Dignity. Serhiy Datsyuk, expert of strategic consulting corporation “Gardaryka”, drew attention to marginalization of volunteerism that discredits the government as a whole. He also pointed to attempts to manipulate public opinion using the so-called “Shatun” campaign. “The society divided into those involved in military operations in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions and those familiar with the situation at the level of information communications,” stated Serhiy Datsyuk. Oleg Saakyan, political scientist, head of the initiative “Only focal center “Donbass”, stated that the war changes the value priorities of Ukrainian people, they begin to enjoy the enemy’s losses. The main thing in this situation is to preserve their moral values and not to fall to the level of their aggressor neighbor. Viktor Nebozhenko, director of the sociological service “Ukrainian Barometer”, suggested a new term for Ukrainian politicians – “illegal majority”, formed in 2016. Konstantyn Matvienko, summarized, “Despite positive statement, the gap between society and the authorities is so big that it is impossible to stitch it together. President Petro Poroshenko concentrated maximum power in his hands and in the eyes of society he is responsible for everything that happens in the country”. “There is no effective integration policy. 2016 does not provide infrastructure for transformation. 2017 is to provide these tools,” added Oleg Saakyan.
Situation within the elites
President Petro Poroshenko is the 2016 “winner” among politicians, according to Vadym Karasev, director of the Institute of Global Strategies. Volodymyr Groisman and Yulia Tymoshenko have not lost their positions either. Andriy Sadovyi has lost citizens’ trust because of the situation in Hrybovytske landfill. “The opposition is gone,” he said and added that currently it has chosen the role of observer: which way the wind blows?
The main challenges in 2017
The main challenges in 2017 are within foreign policy. The situation in the East Ukraine remains unresolved. The political changes that have occurred in the United States and are expected in Russia are also an important factor of Ukraine’s development course. “The challenge is growth of Ukrainian economy. […] At present, we can see more attempts to form problems than to solve them,” noted Vadym Karasev.