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Dynamics of trust in social institutions in 2021-2022

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), 995 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 distructs of  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 1 respondent (out of 995) who currently live in 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 1).

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


The Armed Forces continue to be the most trusted in Ukraine, and over the last year (between December 2021 and December 2022), the level of trust has increased by 72% to 96%. The balance of trust-distrust in the Armed Forces (that is, the difference between the share of those who trust and the share of those who do not trust) is +96% (in December 2021 it was +60%).

Next comes trust in the President of Ukraine and trust in volunteers. In December 2021, 27% trusted the President (and the balance was negative -23%, that is, there were more people who did not trust than trusted), but in a year the indicator increased to 84%, and the balance is currently +80%. In the case of volunteers, trust increased from 68% to 84% and balance improved from +57% to +81%.

There is also a significant improvement in trust in two other law enforcement structures on the list: trust in the SBU increased from 29% to 63% (the balance increased from -7% to +54%), and in the National Police - from 30% to 58% (the balance increased from -14% to +45%).

The perception of the Government and the Verkhovna Rada has also improved significantly. Confidence in the Government increased from 14% to 52% (the balance increased from -46% to +33%). In the case of the parliament, although overall trust indicators are not high, there is also a significant increase in trust: from 11% to 35%, and the balance increased from -56% to +2%.

This year, we added two to the list of institutions that are more closely associated with ensuring the rule of law in the country - prosecutors and courts. As it turned out, these are the only Ukrainian institutions that have a negative trust-distrust balance and to which Ukrainians are most critical. Yes, 25% trust the courts, 34% do not trust them (the rest have no definite attitude) (the balance is -9%). 21% trust prosecutors, 32% do not trust them (the balance is -11%). In 2021, we did not have similar institutions on the list, so we cannot directly talk about the dynamics. However, in 2018, in another KIIS survey, 12% trusted the judicial system, and 78.5% did not. Most likely, there have also been marked improvements in attitudes towards courts and prosecutors compared to 2021, although considerable skepticism remains.

Confidence in the Ukrainian mass media increased from 32% to 57% over the past year (the balance increased from -7% to +43%). Trust in the Russian mass media was still absent before, and now this lack has become even more pronounced: from 3% to 1%, there have been even fewer people who trust, and the balance has decreased from -76% to -92%.

There is some deterioration in the attitude towards the Church: the share of those who trust the Church decreased from 51% to 44%, and the balance decreased from +27% to +22%.

Also, according to the results of the survey, Ukrainians began to trust ordinary people in their locality more - the trust index increased from 63% to 71%, and the balance improved from 52% to 62%. This year we also asked about the attitude towards immigrants: a total of 52% of respondents trust them and only 10% do not trust them (the rest have an undecided / indifferent attitude), and the balance is +41%.

Detailed information is provided in the diagrams and tables below. Arrows in the charts indicate cases where the difference compared to December 2021 is statistically significant.


Formulation of the question in the questionnaire

Now I will name some social institutions. Tell me, please, how much you trust those whom I will name?

Scale of answers: Completely trust / Rather trust / Difficult to say / Rather do not trust / Not at all trust / REFUSAL TO ANSWER

Diagram 1

Dynamics of trust in social institutions, % trust



Diagram 2

Dynamics of trust in social institutions, % trust-distrust balance


A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:


The growth of trust in the political leadership and in the power structures in the conditions of war is another evidence of the unity of citizens in critical circumstances. Social cohesion is one of the key factors in successful resistance to the enemy.

It is important that Ukrainians trust more not only the Armed Forces, but also the SBU and the National Police, which also perform very important functions. It is important not only the improvement in the attitude towards the President, but also the improvement in the perception of the Government and the Parliament, since these institutions play an important role in the processes of organizing the life of the country in war conditions, and are also responsible for reforming the country according to European models.

Along with this, it is very important to pay attention to the significant "backlog" of prosecutors and courts, which are critical elements of ensuring the rule of law. If the political leadership and power structures respond to the request for the safety of citizens (in the minds of the citizens themselves), then prosecutors and courts must respond to the request to ensure the rule of law and justice. Many Ukrainians retain a distinctly skeptical attitude towards them (and, accordingly, towards justice in the country) and now it is an essential question for the prosecutors and courts themselves to be the locomotive of positive changes (and not to claim that the negative attitude towards them is the result of baseless "black" PR) . It is also a matter for Ukrainian legislators and government officials to understand that after the Victory, the demand for the rule of law and justice is only becoming more relevant, so it is necessary to act "in advance" and solve problems now. Moreover, the attitude towards prosecutors and courts has softened significantly (as evidenced by the increase in the number of those who have an "undefined" attitude and the decrease in those who have a distinctly negative attitude), which creates a window of opportunity to introduce the necessary changes.

Table 1

Trust in social institutions, % trust and do not trust and balance of trust-distrust

Regions: where respondents lived until February 24, 2022 Ukraine as a whole West[1] Center
Trust Do not trust Balance Trust Do not trust Balance Trust Do not trust Balance
Armed forces of Ukraine 96 1 +96 98 1 +96 97 0 +97
President of Ukraine 84 5 +80 85 4 +81 86 5 +81
Volunteers 84 4 +81 86 2 +84 81 6 +75
Ordinary people in your locality 71 8 +62 79 4 +75 70 9 +61
SBU 63 9 +54 63 7 +56 64 10 +54
National police 58 14 +45 58 10 +47 59 16 +44
Ukrainian mass media 57 14 +43 62 8 +54 57 16 +41
Government of Ukraine 52 19 +33 50 21 +28 55 15 +40
Settlers 52 10 +41 53 14 +39 50 9 +41
Church 44 22 +22 55 13 +42 40 26 +14
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 35 34 +2 34 37 -3 40 30 +9
Courts 25 34 -9 26 32 -7 28 34 -6
Prosecutors 21 32 -11 22 32 -10 24 33 -8
Russian mass media 1 93 -92 1 91 -90 1 96 -95


Regions: where respondents lived until February 24, 2022 South East
Trust Do not trust Balance Trust Do not trust Balance
Armed forces of Ukraine 95 1 +94 96 0 +96
President of Ukraine 84 5 +79 79 5 +74
Volunteers 86 2 +84 86 3 +82
Ordinary people in your locality 68 11 +56 62 10 +51
SBU 66 9 +56 55 10 +46
National police 61 13 +47 54 16 +39
Ukrainian mass media 55 16 +38 52 16 +35
Government of Ukraine 48 24 +24 56 15 +41
Settlers 50 12 +39 56 6 +50
Church 39 25 +14 39 24 +15
Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine 33 34 -1 31 34 -4
Courts 24 35 -11 20 35 -15
Prosecutors 18 33 -15 18 29 -11
Russian mass media 2 92 -89 0 94 -94


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 1 respondent out of 995 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.

[1] 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.

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