A number of recent opinion polls shed light on the attitudes of residents of Ukraine to separation, the new language law, relations with Russia and the forthcoming parliamentary elections. Overall they suggest that residents of Ukraine are relatively patriotic (including in the eastern regions), have not radically altered their outlooks as a result of the new language law, and though they are primarily oriented toward the European Union, they do not perceive the relationship with Russia as hostile, nor do they anticipate any serious threats to their country from the larger neighbor. The polls suggest a growing maturity and confidence among Ukrainians concerning the future of the independent state that is rarely highlighted in media reports that focus purely on politics and the elite. On the other hand, there remain significant differences in outlook between the east and the south vis-à-vis the western regions in almost every poll. But these divisions are less polarized than has been the case in the past.
Between Aug. 8 and 18, the sociological group “Rating” conducted a poll on the territorial boundaries of Ukraine. In every area there was overwhelming opposition to changes to the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Thus 84 percent opposed the idea of separation of Galicia; 90 percent were against the loss of Crimea; and 90 percent rejected the notion of the separation of the Donbas region. Regarding the latter, in the Donbas region alone, only 8 percent support breaking ties with Kyiv. The poll embraced 2,000 respondents, 18 or over, in all parts of the country. At the same time, another poll indicates, residents have a jaundiced view of the police and judicial system. A Razumkov poll conducted in the spring of 2012 revealed that 69 percent of those polled have a negative attitude toward the courts, 64 percent toward organs of prosecution, and 69 percent for the militia. Even in the east the disapproval of the militia is 55 percent. This attitude appears to be unaffected by political leanings, and geographical location similarly has a limited impact on popular opinion.
There are analogous attitudes on the question of “freedom” in Ukraine, according to a Rating survey carried out from July 14 to 27 with 2,000 respondents. A disturbing 45 percent of Ukraine residents are of the view that there are encroachments of freedom in Ukraine, and between 43 and 46 percetn feel that freedom of speech is under threat. These figures are highest in the West (over 60%), but significant in all regions, with over 40% holding this opinion in the East and Center. In the Donbas, however, the majority does not perceive the situation as deteriorating. That is the view, predominantly, of supporters of Svoboda (based in western Ukraine) and the United Opposition (over 70 percent) and those of the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform (UDAR), led by heavyweight boxing champion Vitaliy Klitschko (almost 60 percent). In other words supporters of the Regions Party and almost 50 percent of those backing the Ukrainian Communist Party do not consider that there is a threat to their freedoms currently.
Full Article: Ukraine on eve of parliamentary elections.