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Attitude of Ukrainians who are currently in Ukraine towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe

The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, the Deputy Director of KIIS

 

During September 7-13, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". Bythemethodofcomputer-assistedtelephoneinterviews(CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 2,000 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR of Crimea) were interviewed. The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the boundaries controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were not temporarily controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), and the survey was not conducted with citizens who left the country after February 24, 2022.

Formally, under normal circumstances, the statistical error of such a sample (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) did 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%.

Under conditions of war, in addition to the specified formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added. In particular, if back in May, among all the respondents we interviewed, 2.5-4% lived in the territories occupied after February 24 (and this corresponded to the percentage of those who live there, because the generation of telephone numbers was random), now, due to the occupiers turning off the telephone connection, we managed to interview fewer respondents living in the occupied settlements, in particular, their number is 0.3%. It is important to note that although the views of the respondents who lived in the occupation were somewhat different, the general tendencies were quite similar. That is, the impossibility of interviewing such respondents does not significantly affect the quality of the results. There are other factors that can affect the quality of results in "wartime" conditions (see Annex 2).

In general, we believe that the obtained results are still highly representative and allow a fairly reliable analysis of public moods of the population.

 

Attitudes towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe

 

After February 24, 2022, many Ukrainians (mostly women and children) left abroad. Some people have already returned to Ukraine, but millions still remain abroad. Such large-scale social upheavals often turn into fault lines in society and become the basis for differentiated treatment of certain categories of people. Therefore, studying how Ukrainians who are currently in Ukraine treat fellow citizens who have gone abroad is an urgent issue.

A deep study of this issue requires specialized separate researches that would be able to take into account various aspects and nuances of the situation (for example, voluntary departure to Europe or forced deportation to Russia, etc.). At this stage, we sought to generally assess the attitude towards Ukrainian refugees. Therefore, the question was asked only about Ukrainian refugees in Europe.

At the same time, we conducted an experiment with a split sample to study the attitude towards certain categories of refugees. We formulated, in addition to the general attitude towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe, also 4 more detailed scenarios-categories of refugees, namely the attitude towards:

  • "A 38-year-old woman who has a minor child. They left for Europe, and her husband stayed in Ukraine";
  • "25-year-old girl who is unmarried and has no children and who left for Europe";
  • "a 72-year-old professor who was in Europe at the time of the invasion for personal reasons and continued to remain there";
  • "A 31-year-old man who himself lives in Ukraine, but occasionally works in Poland. He was in Poland at the time of the invasion and decided not to return yet, but to continue working in Poland.".

Each respondent was asked only 1 of 5 scenario questions. The very question for the basic scenario (attitude in general) was "As you know, many residents of Ukraine left the country and became refugees due to the Russian invasion. Some residents of Ukraine who have remained are sympathetic to the refugees and do not condemn the fact that they have left and are not yet returning. Other people, on the contrary, are upset by such a choice and condemn them for leaving and not coming back. And what is your general attitude towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe?". For scenarios 2-5 (specific description), the question was (on the example of scenario 3): "As you know, many residents of Ukraine left the country and became refugees due to the Russian invasion. For example, this applies to a 25-year-old girl who is single and has no children and who left for Europe. Some residents of Ukraine who remained understand her and do not condemn her for leaving and not yet returning. Other people, on the contrary, are upset by such a choice and condemn her for leaving and not coming back. And what is your general attitude towards her?".

Graph 1 shows the results. We can talk about such an interpretation:

  • In the case of all scenarios, the attitude towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe is quite normal / positive. Yes, 75-90% of Ukrainians who are currently in the territory of Ukraine treat them "with understanding and do not condemn". At the general level (attitudes towards refugees in general) 90% have a normal / positive attitude with only 5% who condemn them;
  • At the same time, there is a differentiation of attitudes depending on "additional facts" about a specific category of refugees. The best treatment is given to women with minor children, whose husbands remained in Ukraine. In this case, the ratio of attitudes do not condemn / condemn - 90% to 6% corresponds almost completely to the attitude towards refugees in general. Most likely, when respondents hear "Ukrainian refugees in Europe", they most often have the image of a woman with a child;
  • The attitude is somewhat worse if minor children are "removed" from the description. Thus, in the case of just women without children, the attitude ratio becomes 87% to 9%;
  • Next, if we start talking about men, the attitude also gets worse. Even if we are talking about an elderly man who was in Europe before the invasion, the ratio is 83% to 10%;
  • Relatively the worst attitude (among the studied categories) if we are talking about a young man who was in Europe at the time of the invasion and stayed there. In this case, 75% do not condemn, 19% condemn.

 

Graph 1. And what is your general attitude towards … ?

 

 

A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:

 

According to the results of surveys, the majority of Ukrainian refugees would like to return to Ukraine. Ukrainian society itself should be very interested in this, so that at a certain point the refugees can return, because in addition to the fact that they are our fellow citizens who deserve to return home, it is also a question of the country's post-war demographic potential.

However, in addition to the security and socio-economic conditions of return, the problem of overcoming the negative attitude of those who remained and now live in Ukraine to those who left abroad may become relevant. Moreover, these narratives ("they left and are enjoying Europe, while we here suffer under shelling and with the lights off") are lovingly broadcast by Russian propaganda, which is trying to split Ukraine. Currently, the results of the survey show that, in general, the attitude is quite normal, which creates a suitable background for a return (when the right conditions will be present). The relevant narrative (that Ukrainians in Ukraine are sincerely waiting for the return of their fellow citizens) should be broadcast at different levels and for different audiences. Ukrainians who currently live in Ukraine should understand this. And this should also be understood and felt by Ukrainians abroad.

 

 

Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire

 

A SPLIT-SAMPLE PROCEDURE IS IMPLEMENTED FOR THE FOLLOWING QUESTION. 1 OF 5 RANDOMLY CHOSEN QUESTION OPTIONS WILL BE READ TO THE RESPONDENT. RANDOMIZATION OF THE READING (FOR EACH OPTION) OF PARTS (a) AND (b)

 

OPTION 1: As you know, many residents of Ukraine went abroad and became refugees due to the Russian invasion. Some residents of Ukraine who remained, [(a) – treat refugees with understanding and do not condemn the fact that they have left and are not yet returning]. Other people, on the contrary, [(b) – upset by this choice and condemn them for leaving and not coming back]. And what is your general attitude towards Ukrainian refugees in Europe?

 

OPTION 2-5: As you know, many residents of Ukraine went abroad and became refugees due to the Russian invasion. For example, it concerns … [ONE OF THE OPTIONS BELOW CHOSEN AT RANDOM].

Some residents of Ukraine, who remained, understand him/her [HERE AND FURTHER - DEPENDLY ON THE SELECTED OPTION] and do not condemn that he/she has left and is not yet returning. Other people, on the contrary, are upset by such a choice and condemn him/her for leaving and not coming back. And what is your general attitude towards him/her?

 

2: 38-year-old woman who has a minor child. They left for Europe, and her husband stayed in Ukraine.

 

3: 25-year-old girl who is single and has no children and who left for Europe.

 

4: 72-year-old professor who was in Europe at the time of the invasion for personal reasons and continued to remain there

 

5: … 31-year-old man who himself lives in Ukraine, but occasionally works in Poland. He was in Poland at the time of the invasion and decided not to return yet, but to continue working in Poland

 

Scale:

Of course, I understand and do not condemn that left 1
Rather, I understand and do not condemn that left 2
Rather, I am saddened by such a choice and condemn that left 3
Of course, I am saddened by such a choice and condemn that left 4
DIFFICULT TO SAY (DO NOT READ) 5
REFUSAL TO ANSWER (DO NOT READ) 6

 

 

100% in the column In general, to Ukrainian refugees in Europe 38-year-old woman who has a minor child. They left for Europe, and her husband stayed in Ukraine 25-year-old girl who is single and has no children and who left for Europe 72-year-old professor who was in Europe at the time of the invasion for personal reasons and continued to remain there 31-year-old man who himself lives in Ukraine, but occasionally works in Poland. He was in Poland at the time of the invasion and decided not to return yet, but to continue working in Poland
Of course, I understand and do not condemn that left 60 71 65 57 41
Rather, I understand and do not condemn that left 31 19 22 26 35
Rather, I am saddened by such a choice and condemn that left 5 3 5 8 12
Of course, I am saddened by such a choice and condemn that left 1 3 4 3 7
DIFFICULT TO SAY (DO NOT READ) 4 3 4 6 6
REFUSAL TO ANSWER (DO NOT READ) 0 0 0 0 0

 


Annex 2. Methodological comments on the representativeness of telephone surveys conducted during the war

 

 

 

Even before the full-scale Russian invasion on February 24, 2022, there were a number of factors that negatively affected the representativeness of the polls (for example, the absence of a census for more than 20 years). A full-scale war, of course, greatly affects representativeness and complicates the work of sociologists, but does not make it impossible. Access to reliable data on the state of public moods remains relevant both for Ukrainians themselves and for our foreign partners (who, as the events of recent months have shown, often underestimated and did not understand Ukraine and Ukrainians).

At the same time, in order to maintain objectivity, it is necessary to understand what limitations the war imposes on the conduct of sociological surveys. First of all, we pay attention to large-scale population movements. In September, the UN report mentioned 7.4 million Ukrainian refugees. Obviously, due to various reasons, it is difficult to consider these data to be unequivocally accurate, but in general, the rather significant scale of departure from the country is clear. There is no exact data on how many of them are adult citizens, but, most likely, it is about half. Among about 30 million adult citizens (estimated at the time of the full-scale invasion), it can be roughly estimated that about 13-15% have left the country, and it is impossible to reliably survey these citizens using telephone interviews. Even more citizens have become internally displaced persons, but they have a much smaller impact on the quality of telephone surveys, since almost all of these citizens have mobile phones and are reachable to participate in the survey (in fact, 16% of the respondents of this survey are IDPs).

Another important problem is the accessibility for the survey of the population of the territories that were occupied after February 24, 2022, due to the conduct of intensive military operations or due to interruptions in telephone connection. Now there is practically no connection. In May, 2.5-4% of respondents lived in these territories, now in the sample of residents of these territories - 0.3%. According to our current estimates, the territory occupied by Russia as of the beginning of September (occupied after February 24, 2022) accounted for about 9% of the total adult population. Taking into account the mass exodus of the population from these territories (most likely, we are talking about at least half of the population), we estimate that no more than 3-5% of the total adult population of Ukraine were inaccessible due to connection problems. Successful actions and the liberation of a number of territories in the Kharkiv region further reduce this percentage.

In our opinion, a more significant impact on representativeness can be either a generally lower willingness of citizens with "pro-Russian" attitudes to participate in surveys, or the insincerity of those who did take part in the survey (taking into account the obvious facts and prevailing opinions in the media regarding the Russian invasion , some citizens will not want to say what they really think "in public"). If to talk about the general willingness of respondents to participate in the survey, then in recent surveys we see either the same indicators or somewhat lower (although it should be borne in mind that the lower willingness to participate of "pro-Russian" citizens can be compensated by the higher willingness to participate of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens).

We conducted a methodical experiment in May, which shows that the citizens who are currently participating in the surveys in terms of demographic characteristics and meaningful attitudes are close to those who participated in the surveys until February 24, 2022. Preliminarily, we see some shift in the direction of "pro-Ukrainian"-minded citizens, which is reflected in up to 5-7% deviations for individual questions (in the direction of more frequent selection of answers that correspond to the "pro-Ukrainian" interpretation of events). In our opinion, in the current conditions, this is a rather optimistic indicator. However, this experiment does not give an answer as to how sincere the respondents are now in their answers.

Taking into account our own observations and the experience of conducting surveys over many years, we still remain optimistic that, for the most part, respondents answer the questions sincerely. For example, the "imagined acquaintance" experiment shows little difference with the direct question. In addition, we assume that the demographic categories of citizens who have gone abroad and are unreachable for a telephone survey, at least now, do not differ very significantly in terms of a number of substantive attitudes from similar demographic categories of citizens who have remained in Ukraine.

As a result, in our opinion, we should talk about a certain decrease in representativeness and an increase in error (in addition to the previously mentioned formal error, a certain systematic deviation is added due to the factors considered above), but at the same time, the obtained results still retain high representativeness and allow for a fairly reliable analysis of public moods of the population.

 


11.11.2022
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