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Dynamics of readiness for territorial concessions for the earliest possible end of the war: results of a telephone survey conducted on December 4-27, 2022
The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, the Deputy Director of KIIS
During December 4-27, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey "Omnibus". By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 2,005 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except the 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 3,4% for indicators close to 50%, 3.0% for indicators close to 25%, 2.1% - for indicators close to 10%, 1.5% - 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 only 3 respondents (from 2005), who currently live in the occupied settlements. 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.
Readiness for territorial concessions
In May, July and September 2022, we asked a question about readiness for territorial concessions to achieve peace as soon as possible. Now, in December 2022, we asked this question again to gauge the dynamics of public moods.
Graph 1 shows the respondents' answers. As can be seen, for 85% of respondents, no territorial concessions are acceptable. Only 8% believe that in order to achieve peace and preserve independence, it is possible to give up some territories.
In September, 87% considered the concessions unacceptable, but the difference with the current indicator is within statistical error, that is, in fact, no changes have occurred. Also, in September, as many as now (8%) were in favor of negotiations and were ready to give up certain territories. At the same time, now the share of those who do not support territorial concessions is slightly, but higher than the indicator as of May 2022.
Graph 1. With which of these statements regarding possible compromises to achieve peace with Russia do you agree to a greater extent?
In the graph below, the data are shown in a regional dimension (for convenience, the data are shown for May, September and December). In all regions of Ukraine, the absolute majority of the population is against any territorial concessions. Even among residents of the East, which is currently undergoing intense fighting, 80% are against concessions (ready for concessions - only 9%), and among residents of the South - 82% are against concessions (ready - only 10%). Compared to September, the situation in all regions is more or less stable.
Graph2. Readiness for territorial concessions in the regional dimension
Graph 3 shows the results in terms of the main linguistic categories of the population of Ukraine. As can be seen, the absolute majority of Ukrainian-speaking, bilingual, and Russian-speaking Ukrainians (respondents who consider themselves Ukrainians by nationality) are against any concessions.
Graph3. Readiness for territorial concessions among the main linguistic categories of the population
A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:
Ukrainians, after 10 months of grueling and brutal war, remain steadfast and reject the narrative of "the need for territorial concessions to pacify the aggressor".
Since October, Russia has been carrying out regular terrorist attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure, leaving millions of Ukrainians without electricity, heat and water. The obvious goal is to terrorize the population and create a situation of internal tension to put pressure on the military and political leadership of the country. However, the analysis of public moods in dynamics proves that all these numerous attacks did not in any way affect the willingness of Ukrainians to make compromises.
Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire
With which of these statements regarding possible compromises to achieve peace with Russia do you agree to a greater extent? RANDOMIZATION OF READING
(% among all respondents)
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. As of December, the UN estimates the number of Ukrainian refugees at almost 7.9 million. Obviously, due to various reasons, it is difficult to consider these data unequivocally accurate, but in general, the quite significant scale of departure from the country is understandable. 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 15-20% 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, 12% 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 communication. 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 - only 3 respondents out of 2005 surveyed. According to our estimates, the territory occupied by Russia as of the beginning of September (occupied after February 24, 2022) accounted for about 9% of the entire 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), as well as the fact that significant territories of Kharkiv and Kherson regions were liberated from this period, we estimate that no more than 3-5% of the total adult population of Ukraine were unavailable due to communication problems.
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 4-6% 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. To assess the sincerity of responses to sensitive questions, in July we conducted another experiment using the "imagined acquaintance" method. The results showed that the respondents generally answered the survey questions honestly. That is, we have reason to say that during the interview, the respondents really answer our questions sincerely.
 Only 1% of respondents identified themselves as Russian by nationality and at the same time as Russian-speaking. Since there were few such respondents, we did not display them on the graph.
 The composition of the macroregions is as follows: Western macroregion – Volyn, Rivne, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ternopil, Zakarpattia, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi oblasts; Central macroregion – Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Sumy, Chernihiv, Poltava, Kirovohrad, Cherkasy, Kyiv oblasts, Kyiv city, Southern macroregion – Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa oblasts, Eastern macroregion – Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts.