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Attitude of the population of Ukraine to Russia and the population of Russia to Ukraine, February 2021

The press release contains the results of a joint project of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology and the Russian non-governmental research organization Levada-Center, which has been carried out since 2008. (The autonomous non-profit organization "Levada-Center" is forcibly entered in the register of non-profit organizations of Russia, performing the functions of a foreign agent.The statement of the director of the "Levada-Center", who does not agree with this decision, see.here. )

 

Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) During February 5-7, 2021, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion poll "Omnibus". By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile telephone numbers 2005 respondents were interviewed living in all regions of Ukraine (except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea). The sample is representative for the adult population (18 years and older) of Ukraine. The sample does not include territories that are temporarily not controlled by the authorities of Ukraine - the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In Luhansk and Donetsk regions, the survey was conducted only in the territory controlled by the Ukrainian authorities.

Statistical sampling error (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) does not exceed: 2.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.1% for indicators close to 25%, 1.5% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.1% - for indicators close to 5%.   

 "Levada-Center"  conducted a survey by a representative sample of the population of Russia, 1601 people aged 18 years and older, in the period 18-24 February 2021 by the method of personal interview.

The statistical error when the samplingis 1601 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed: 3.4% for indicators close to 50%, 2.9% - for indicators close to 25% / 75%, 2.0% - for indicators close to 10% / 90%, and 1.5% - for indicators close to 5% / 95%

 

Summary

In Ukraine in February 2021, 41% of Ukrainians treated Russia well, and about the same number treated  badly - 42%. Compared to September 2020, the situation has not changed.

In Russia, 54% of the population treated Ukraine well and 31% badly. Compared to the previous wave of polls (August 2020), attitude has improved.

88% of Ukrainians and 80% of Russians support Ukraine’s independence from Russia, and 7% of Ukrainians and 17% of Russians want Ukraine to join Russia. The number of Ukrainians who want closed borders with Russia is 39% (and Russians - 23%), and the number of Ukrainians who want independent relations, but without borders and customs, is 49% (and Russians – 57%).

 

*    *    *

 

During the research, Ukrainians were still asked a question "How do you feel about Russia in general now?", and the Russians "How do you feel about Ukraine in general now?"

During the entire observation period (except for September 2019 and our latest data from February 2021), Ukrainians treated Russia better than Russians treated Ukraine (see Graph 1). In September 2019, Russians 'attitudes toward Ukraine were somewhat better, possibly due to expectations that the new Ukrainian government would change Ukrainians' attitudes toward Russia. After the annexation of Crimea and the start of hostilities in the Donbas, Ukrainians 'positive attitudes toward Russia fell sharply (from 90% to 30%), but after the end of active hostilities, Ukrainians' attitudes toward Russia improved somewhat again. Now, for the second time in the history of observations, Russians treat Ukraine better than Ukrainians treat Russia.

Methodological remark.  This time the surveys are not completely equivalent, because in Russia the survey was conducted by face-to-face interview, and in Ukraine - by the method of telephone survey. In addition, only the last two of our surveys, September 2020 and current (February 2021), were conducted by telephone survey, and all other surveys were conducted by the method of F2F interviews. Therefore, we do not know whether we really have a decline in the positive attitude of Ukrainians to Russia or whether it is due to the transition to telephone surveys..

 

Graph 1. Dynamics of good attitude of the population of Ukraine to Russia and Russia to Ukraine 

  • · In Ukraine in February 2021, 41% of Ukrainians treated Russia well or very well, about the same number (42%) treated bad or very bad, and 17% were undecided. Compared to September 2020, the situation has not changed.
  • In Russia, 54% of the population treated Ukraine well or very well, 31% had a bad or very bad attitude, and 13% were undecided. Compared to the previous wave of the survey (August 2020), the attitude has improved (48% treated positively in August and 43% negatively). Note that the research was conducted before the closure of 3 pro-Russian channels.
  • Levada-Center Project Manager Oksana Hreben hypothesizes that “the improvement in attitudes is likely to be a continuation of the trend of increasing positive assessments that emerged in the last dimension in August 2020. We believe that this may be due to a change in the order in the media - the topic of Ukraine began to take up less airtime. It is now more often discussed in the context of coronavirus control and vaccination decisions than in the context of any conflict situation, and the general attitude towards Ukraine and Ukrainians in Russia is rather positive. " 
  • The attitude of Ukrainians to Russia significantly depends on the region: in the West 31% have a positive attitude towards Russia, in the Center - 35%, in the South - 49%, in the East - 59%. The majority of those who have a negative attitude towards Russia are concentrated in the Western region (52%), the least in the Eastern region (24%) (see Table 2).    

 

Dynamics of answers to question "How would you like to see Ukraine's relations with Russia?"

  • Compared to September 2020, the level of support for Ukraine's independence (percentage of those who believe that Ukraine should be independent of Russia) remains approximately the same - 88% (it was 90%), this indicator has not changed since 2014. The number of those who want closed borders with Russia is 39%, and the number of those who want independent relations, but without borders and customs, is 49%. 7%would like unification into one state.
  • In Russia, compared to January 2020, the number of applicants for closed borders with Ukraine decreased slightly (it was 30%, it became 23%) and the number of those who do not want visas and borders increased (it was 51%, it became 57%). The number of those who want to unite into one state has hardly changed - 17%.

 

Graph 2. What kind of relations with Russia do want in Ukraine?* 

The line on the graph “Ukraine and Russia should be independent” is the sum of the first two columns in Table 6, ie the percentage of those who want independence with borders and customs, and those who want independence but without borders and customs (see tables below).

 

 

Comment by V. Paniotto, Director General of KIIS:

From time to time, we ask not only about the attitude towards Russia, but also separately about the attitude towards the Russians and the Russian leadership. The last such survey was in February 2019. In general, 57% of Ukrainians had a positive attitude towards Russia at that time. At the same time, 77% of Ukrainians had a positive attitude towards Russians, while the attitude towards the Russian leadership was sharply negative and only 13% of Ukrainians had a positive attitude. The situation is the same with the attitude of Russians (Russian citizens) to Ukraine, in February 2019 only 34% of Russians were positive about Ukraine, 82% of Russians were positive about Ukrainians, and only 7% of Russians - positive about the leadership of Ukraine.

Thus, both in Ukraine and in Russia the positive attitude to the state is caused, first of all, by the positive attitude to the population.

Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire

 

How would you like to see Ukraine's relations with Russia?  ONE RESPONSE

Ukraine's relations with Russia should be the same as with other states - with closed borders, visas, customs 1
Ukraine and Russia should be independent but friendly states - with open borders, without visas and customs 2
Ukraine and Russia must unite into one state 3
DS/NR 9

 

 

 

How do you feel about Russia in general now?

very good 1  mostly bad 3 DIFFICULT TO SAY / REFUSAL TO ANSWER 9
mostly good 2  very bad 4

 

 

Annex 2. Composition of the regions of Ukraine

 

 

Western macroregion - Volyn, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi regions; 

Central macroregion – Kyiv city, Kyiv, Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Kirovohrad, Poltava, Sumy, Cherkasy, Chernihiv regions; 

Southern macroregion - Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Kherson regions; 

Eastern macroregion - Kharkiv, Donetsk, Luhansk region (districts controlled by Ukraine)

 

 

 

Annex 3.  TABLES

 

Taable 1. How do you feel about Ukraine / Russia in general now?  

IN UKRAINE, RUSSIA is treated, % IN RUSSIA, UKRAINE is treated, %
Date very good/mostly good mostly bad/very bad DIFFICULT TO SAY TOTAL Date very good/mostly good mostly bad/very bad DIFFICULT TO SAY TOTAL
Apr.08 88 7 5 100 Mar.08 55 33 12 100
Sept.08 88 9 3 100 Sept.08 38 53 10 100
Feb.09 91 5 4 100 Jan.09 29 62 10 100
May.09 93 4 3 100 May.09 33 56 11 100
Oct.09 92 6 3 100 Sept.09 46 44 10 100
Mar.10 90 6 4 100 Mar.10 59 29 12 100
Jun.10 92 6 3 100 Jul.10 70 22 9 100
Oct.10 93 4 3 100 Oct.10 67 21 12 100
Nov.11 80 13 7 100 Sept.11 68 23 9 100
Feb.12 85 9 6 100 Jan.12 64 25 12 100
Sept.12 83 11 6 100 Sept.12 74 17 10 100
Feb.13 85 8 7 100 Feb.13 69 21 9 100
May.13 81 10 9 100 May.13 72 18 9 100
Nov.13 82 10 8 100 Sept.13 69 22 8 100
Feb.14 78 13 9 100 Jan.14 66 26 9 100
May.14 52 38 10 100 May.14 35 49 17 100
Sept.14 48 41 11 100 Sept.14 32 55 13 100
Dec.14 37 48 16 100 Jan. 15 24 63 13 100
Feb.15 34 51 15 100 Mar.15 31 56 13 100
May.15 30 56 14 100 May.15 26 59 14 100
Sept.15 34 53 13 100 Sept.15 33 56 11 100
Feb.16 36 47 13 100 Feb.16 27 59 14 100
May.16 42 43 15 100 May.16 39 47 13 100
Sept.16 40 46 14 100 Sept.16 26 56 17 100
Dec.16 40 47 13 100 Dec.16 34 54 13 100
Feb.17 39 46 15 100 Jan.17 34 54 13 100
May.17 44 37 19 100 May.17 26 59 15 100
Sept.17 37 46 17 100 Sept.17 32 53 15 100
Dec.17 42 39 19 100 Dec.17 28 56 17 100
Feb.18 45 38 18 100 Mar.18 33 55 12 100
Sept.18 48 32 19 100 Sept.18 33 56 12 100
Feb.19 57 27 17 100 Feb.19 34 55 10 100
Sept.19 54 35 11 100 Sept.19 56 31 13 100
Feb.20 54 33 13 100 Jan.20 41 47 12 100
Sept.20 42 42 16 100 Aug.20 48 43 9 100
Feb.21 41 42 17 100 Feb.21 54 31 13 100

 

Table 2. How do you feel about Russia in general now? Distribution by regions, February 2021, %

  Ukraine as a whole,% Western Central Southern Eastern
Very good 6 4 3 9 12
Mostly good 35 27 32 40 47
Mostly bad 20 21 23 17 13
Very bad 22 31 25 15 11
DIFFICULT TO SAY / REFUSAL TO ANSWER 16 16 16 18 16
TOTAL 100 100 100 100 100

 

 

Table 3. How would you like to see Ukraine's relations with Russia?  

  IN UKRAINE
Date They should be the same as with other states - with closed borders, visas, customs Ukraine and Russia should be independent but friendly states - with open borders, without visas and customs Ukraine and Russia must unite into one state Difficult to say Total
Apr.08 10 67 20 3 100
Sept.08 17 66 16 2 100
Feb.09 8 68 23 1 100
May.09 10 65 23 2 100
Oct.09 11 67 19 3 100
Mar.10 11 67 19 3 100
Jun.10 12 70 16 2 100
Oct.10 10 67 20 2 100
Nov.11 13 67 16 1 100
Feb.12 13 69 16 2 100
Sept.12 11 72 14 3 100
Feb.13 13 68 16 3 100
May.13 11 69 14 5 100
Nov.13 12 73 9 6 100
Feb.14 15 68 12 5 100
May.14 32 54 8 5 100
Sept.14 45 44 5 6 100
Dec.14 50 42 3 5 100
Feb.15 48 43 4 6 100
May.15 45 46 2 7 100
Sept.15 46 45 2 7 100
Feb.16 42 43 4 11 100
May.16 44 44 3 9 100
Sept.16 49 43 3 6 100
Dec.16 45 46 3 7 100
Feb.17 47 43 2 7 100
May.17 43 47 4 6 100
Sept.17 49 40 4 8 100
Dec.17 45 40 4 11 100
Feb.18 44 44 3 9 100
Sept.2018 38 50 4 8 100
Feb.2019 39 48 4 9 100
Sept.2019 41 49 3 7 100
Feb.2020 39 51 3 7 100
Sept.2020 39 51 5 5 100
Feb.2021 39 49 6 6 100

 

 

 

  IN RUSSIA
Date They should be the same as with other states - with closed borders, visas, customs Ukraine and Russia should be independent but friendly states - with open borders, without visas and customs Ukraine and Russia must unite into one state Difficult to say Total
Mar.08 19 56 19 6 100
Sept. 08 24 52 13 11 100
Jan. 09 29 51 12 8 100
Jun. 09 25 55 14 6 100
Sept. 09 25 55 13 7 100
Jan. 10 25 55 14 6 100
May. 10 17 64 13 6 100
Sept. 10 16 60 18 6 100
Sept.11 16 63 14 6 100
Jan.12 16 61 16 8 100
Sept.12 14 60 20 6 100
Feb.13 13 64 18 6 100
May.13 19 58 15 8 100
Sept.13 23 55 16 6 100
Jan.14 19 59 16 6 100
May.14 28 54 12 6 100
Sept.14 26 62 7 5 100
Jan. 15 32 53 7 8 100
May.15 30 54 10 6 100
Sept.15 25 59 8 7 100
Feb.16 32 52 11 5 100
May.16 36 53 7 4 100
Sept.16 39 48 8 6 100
Dec.16 33 53 9 5 100
Jan.17 33 53 9 5 100
May.17 35 50 9 5 100
Sept.17 34 49 11 6 100
Dec.17 33 49 10 8 100
Mar.18 39 45 10 5 100
Sept.2018 32 45 16 6 100
Feb.2019 25 52 17 6 100
Sept.2019 23 54 19 4 100
Jan.2020 26 56 15 3 100
Aug.2020 30 51 16 3 100
Feb.2021 23 57 17 4 100

 

 

Table 4. How would you like to see Ukraine's relations with Russia?  Distribution by regions, February 2021, %

  Ukraine as a whole,% Western Central Southern Eastern
Very good 39 50 43 31 23
Mostly good 49 40 45 57 63
Mostly bad 6 3 6 6 11
Very bad 6 7 6 6 3
DIFFICULT TO SAY / REFUSAL TO ANSWER 100 100 100 100 100

 

 

 


2.3.2021
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