sociological and

ESC or click to close

Dynamics of readiness for territorial concessions for the earliest possible end of the war: results of a telephone survey conducted May 26-June 5, 2023

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


From May 26 to June 5, 2023, 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), 1,029 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except the Autonomous Republic 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 in May 2022, 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, not a single respondent who currently lives in occupied settlements was included in the sample (along with this, out of a total of 1,029 respondents, 38 respondents lived in a settlement that is currently occupied until February 24, 2022). It is important to note that although the views of the respondents who lived in the occupation were somewhat different, the general trends 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


Since May 2022, KIIS regularly asks questions about the population's readiness for territorial concessions in order to achieve peace and maintain independence as soon as possible in its own surveys. Now, in May-June 2023, we asked this question again to assess the dynamics of public moods.

Graph 1 shows the respondents' answers. As can be seen, the absolute majority of respondents - 84% - continue to adhere to the view that no territorial concessions are acceptable, even if this means that the war will last longer and there will be other threats. Only 10% believe that in order to achieve peace and preserve independence, it is possible to give up some territories.

During the year - from May 2022 to May 2023 - there were practically no significant changes in public moods. Each time, the absolute majority of respondents (82-87%) spoke against territorial concessions and the absolute minority (8-10%) were ready for them.


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 is shown in a regional dimension with a comparison with May 2022. In all regions of Ukraine, the absolute majority of the population is against any territorial concessions. In particular, among the residents of the East[1], 75% are against concessions (only 13% are ready to make concessions), and among residents of the South, 86% are against concessions (only 8% are ready). Compared to May 2022, in all regions there is a distinct dominance of the opinion that Ukraine should not cede any of its territories.


Graph2. Readiness for territorial concessions in the regional dimension




In addition, the absolute majority of citizens are against any concessions, regardless of the language they mainly communicate at home. So, if among Ukrainian-speaking citizens 85% are against concessions (10% are ready for concessions), then among Russian-speaking citizens 80% (and also only 13%) are ready for concessions.

In the sample there were only 19 respondents (out of 1029) who continue to identify themselves by nationality as Russian. This amount is not enough for statistically reliable calculations. However, it is indicative that among them only 2 respondents are in favor of concessions, and 15, on the contrary, reject any concessions.


Graph3. Readiness for territorial concessions depending on the main language of communication at home



A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:


We can see that since May 2022, public sentiment has practically not changed and the absolute majority of citizens who are against any territorial concessions to the aggressor remains. At first glance, such results may seem less interesting or even boring, because we do not see bright dynamics.

However, these results are months of grueling struggle of Ukrainians against brutal Russia. The fact that, despite all the losses and destruction, the Ukrainians remain adamant about concessions, shows their high resilience and understanding of the impossibility of a true and just peace without the return of their territories. It is also fundamentally important that this stability and steadfastness is characteristic of all Ukrainians, regardless of the region of origin, language or nationality.





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)

100% in a column Region: where lived until February 24, 2022 Ukraine as a whole West[2] Center South East
In order to achieve peace and preserve independence as soon as possible, Ukraine can give up some of its territories 10 9 12 8 13
Under no circumstances should Ukraine give up any of its territories, even if because of this the war will last longer and there will be threats to the preservation of independence 84 86 84 86 75



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 May, 2023, the UN estimates the number of Ukrainian refugees at almost 8.3 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 2022, 2.5-4% of respondents lived in these territories, now the sample does not include a single respondent who currently lives in an occupied settlement (along with this, out of a total of 1,029 respondents, 38 respondents lived in a settlement until February 24, 2022 , which is currently occupied; these respondents currently live in one of the settlements in the territory controlled by the Government of Ukraine). According to our estimates, the territories that were occupied by Russia as of the beginning of September 2022 (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), 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 region is determined by where the respondent lived until February 24, i.e. IDPs who, for example, lived in the Donetsk oblast until February 24, but now live in another oblast, are considered residents of the East for the analysis.

[2] 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.

Go up | Back