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For what matters Ukraines European Union membership, the priority of joining the EU or NATO, and the perception of Russia as part of Europe: the results of a telephone survey conducted on September 29 - October 9, 2023

The press release was prepared by Anton Hrushetskyi, executive director of KIIS

 

From September 29 to October 9, 2023, 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), 1,010 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 abroad.

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 1,010 respondents, 22 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, which were cited by KIIS earlier.

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

 


KIIS continues cooperation with the famous British scientist and great friend of Ukraine, Timothy Garton Ash. In February 2023, at his request, KIIS asked respondents questions about Ukraine's relations with the West[1].

Now, in September-October 2023, KIIS, at the request of Timothy Garton Ash, asked questions about the meaning of EU membership for Ukrainians, the priority of joining the EU or NATO, and the perception of Russia as part of Europe.

 

For what matters Ukraine’s European Union membership

 

According to the results of previous KIIS surveys, 82% of respondents agree that the future of Ukraine as a prosperous free country depends on whether it becomes a member of the EU (February 2023). At the same time, 92% of Ukrainians would like Ukraine to become a member of the EU, and 89% - a member of NATO (May 2023). That is, there is currently a consensus in society regarding the support of European and Euro-Atlantic integration.

However, it should be taken into account that the motives for supporting EU accession may differ among different Ukrainians. During the survey, KIIS asked respondents the question “Ukraine's European Union membership matters most  for...” and offered a choice of five different motives. Respondents had to choose three of them and name them in order of importance. Accordingly, we can calculate what % of Ukrainians count a certain motive among the top 3, and what % count it among the most important motives for supporting European integration.

As can be seen in the graph 1, there are two biggest motives - ensuring long-term security (59% of respondents count it among the top 3 motives) and economic prospects (57%). However, other motives were also chosen by quite a few respondents: the future of Ukrainian democracy (44%, in particular, one in five considers this motive the most important), ensuring the rule of law (45%), international recognition of Ukraine's place in Europe (41%).

 

 


Graph 1. Ukraine's European Union membership matters most  for... Please indicate three of the following answers in the order of their importance.

 

 

In all regions of Ukraine, Ukrainians primarily talk about security and economic motives for supporting European integration. On the other hand, other factors play a major role in all regions.

 

Table 1. Ukraine's European Union membership matters most for... (regional dimension)

% in a column Region: where live now [2] West Center South East
Top-3 1 Top-3 1 Top-3 1 Top-3 1
Long-term security of Ukraine 58 20 61 23 61 31 48 17
Economic prospects of Ukraine 52 16 55 18 65 19 62 11
Ensuring the rule of law in Ukraine 49 13 46 13 42 11 34 14
Future of Ukrainian democracy 44 23 43 19 44 15 45 30
International recognition of Ukraine's place in Europe 40 12 45 15 36 10 43 9
Other 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Do not know 14 --- 7 --- 8 --- 12 ---
EU membership is not important for Ukraine 2 --- 5 --- 6 --- 7 ---

 


What is a higher priority – membership of the EU or NATO

 

Although the absolute majority of Ukrainians support joining both the EU and NATO (and these processes are connected and parallel for Ukraine), nevertheless, Ukrainians form an idea of what is currently a higher priority for the country.

So, 54% of Ukrainians believe that membership in NATO is currently a higher priority. Prefer EU membership - 24% (the rest of the respondents either answered “neither” or could not answer at all). At the same time, in all regions there are more people who prefer NATO to the EU.

 

 

Graph 2. What should be a priority for Ukraine - membership of the EU or NATO?



Perception of Russia as part of Europe

 

Along with reaching a consensus on joining the EU and NATO (and the corresponding vision of Ukraine as a part of Europe), a parallel process was the disengagement from Russia. Yes, currently almost 80% of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine and Russia should have borders, customs, visas, etc. At the same time, the issue of Russia's belonging to Europe is being discussed in the worldview dimension.

Respondents were asked whether they consider Russia to be part of Europe according to four criteria (or the respondent could also name his option-criterion of belonging to Europe). Hence, according to at least one of the criteria, 59% consider Russia to be part of Europe, and 41% of Ukrainians do not consider Russia to be Europe at all according to any criteria. At the same time, we are mainly talking about geography: 48% of Ukrainians consider Russia geographically Europe, while 47% do not think so. At the same time, only 10-14% of Ukrainians consider Russia to be Europe politically, culturally, or based on the value system.

 

Graph 3. Russia is part of Europe …

 

 

It is noteworthy that in all regions the majority reject Russia's political/cultural/valuable affiliation with Europe. Even with regard to the geographical criterion, in all regions, no more than half count Russia as part of Europe.

 

Table 2. Russia is part of Europe... (regional dimension)

% answered “yes”

% in the column Region: where y live now West Center South East
At least according to one criterion, Russia is considered a part of Europe 63 63 45 66
Geographically 51 53 37 52
Politically 14 16 11 19
Culturally 10 16 12 22
Is in its value system 7 13 8 6
Other 5 9 1 8

 

A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:

 

The results of the survey, on the one hand, quite expectedly show the priority for Ukraine of guaranteeing security and economic development, which are the biggest drivers of support for European integration. At the same time, the priority between the EU and NATO shows that the top factor is, after all, security (and according to other data, we can see that the insistence on joining NATO has significantly increased over the year).

Along with this, on the other hand, it is important to emphasize that Ukrainians do not reduce European and Euro-Atlantic integration to utilitarian desires for protection and well-being. Both the EU and NATO are also valuable alliances (despite some renegade members). Among Ukrainians, 95% want to see Ukraine as a fully functioning democracy. Therefore, it is important that among the drivers of support for European integration, a large share of Ukrainians talk about democracy, the rule of law, and the European identity of Ukraine.

In the latter case, we see not only the emphasis on the Europeanness of Ukraine, but also the process of denying the Europeanness of Russia. Ukrainians increasingly see the gulf between themselves as a legitimate part of Europe and Russia, which is alien to Europe. 



[1] Opinions and views of Ukrainians regarding Ukraine's relations with the West: results of telephone surveys conducted on February 14-22, 2023 and February 22-March 6, 2023 // https://kiis.com.ua/?lang=ukr&cat=reports&id=1203&page=8

[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 regions, Kyiv city, Southern macroregion – Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolaiv, Kherson, Odesa oblasts, Eastern macroregion – Donetsk, Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts.


18.10.2023
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