Every second resident of Donbas – namely 51% of them – feel that they are, above all, citizens of Ukraine, announced Iryna Bekeshkina, Director of Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. The survey was conducted in government-controlled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions at a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center. According to Tetiana Durneva, Executive Director of the NGO “Hrupa Vplyvu”, the number has increased compared to 32% last year.
Thirty-eight percent of Donbas residents believe that the most important thing to end the conflict is to restore normal life in territories controlled by Ukraine. In Donbas, 41% of respondents are ready to accept peace at any price. This is more than in other regions of the country. “As for integration, it should be noted that Donbas region is very different here,” Ms. Bekeshkina emphasized. Thirty-three percent believe that we should join neither the European nor the Eurasian Union. “Another 23% continue dreaming of a customs union with Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan,” noted Ms. Bekeshkina. She added that 63.5% of Donbas residents do not support the idea of a visa regime with Russia. As for the Donbas population’s support for joining NATO, the dynamics is positive: 20% in July 2017, compared to 0.3% in 2012.
The political uncertainty of Donbas inhabitants is high. In Luhansk region, 70% did not support any political force. In Donetsk region, the situation is somewhat better. However, about half of the respondents did not decide whom to vote for. “Donbas has ceased to be a factor of domestic political life; […] political parties do not see the point to work there, and therefore we see such low ratings,” noted Vitaliy Syzov, an analyst at Donetsk Institute of Information.
“If we talk about socioeconomic rights and preservation of ties [with residents of Donbas territories uncontrolled by Ukraine – UCMC], these are really the first two needs that arise,” said Oleksandra Dvoretska, head of the Board of the NGO “Vostok SOS.” Iryna Bekeshkina added that in Donetsk region only 21.5% of respondents maintain regular contact with their relatives and friends in the uncontrolled territories of Donbas. In Luhansk region, the situation is better – 57.3% of respondents maintain regular contacts with people living there. However, the active position of citizens there is not very common. “Luhansk region is very surprising; a large number of citizens there cannot determine their position on topical issues. This fact gives rise to the government to pay attention to this region, in particular, to problems with logistics, […], communication, etc.,” stressed Oleksandr Klyuzhev, an expert at civil network “OPORA.”