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Perception of the fight against corruption in Ukraine: 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". Bythemethodofcomputer-assistedtelephoneinterviews(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 Ukrainian authorities 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.


Perception of the fight against corruption in Ukraine


Corruption remains one of the most annoying aspects for Ukrainians (besides the war, corruption is actually the top problem according to Ukrainians). We can observe a very sharp reaction both to the cases of corruption themselves, and even to the results of surveys concerning it (in the latter case, by the way, the sharpness of the reaction can be traced both among the public and among the authorities). In recent months, various flagrant cases of corruption have been intensively discussed in Ukraine based on the results of the activities of law enforcement agencies and journalistic investigations.

At the same time, it is necessary to understand that intensive media coverage can both testify to serious attempts to fight corruption, and, on the contrary, be perceived by a part of the population as another evidence of the total, almost hopeless corruption of Ukrainian society. We asked respondents how they perceive the current situation in the fight against corruption. The majority of Ukrainians - 59% - believe that there are indeed attempts to fight corruption and positive developments in Ukraine. At the same time, a significant share of respondents chose the answer option that the latest cases are evidence of "the hopeless corruption of Ukraine and there are no positive changes" (34%).

Previously, KIIS did not ask questions in this formulation, so it is difficult to speak unambiguously about the dynamics of moods. Along with this, in the winter of 2022-2023, KIIS conducted by order of the Program for the Promotion of Public Activity "Join!" another large-scale survey on the state of corruption. One of the questions was "How effectively do you think the authorities of Ukraine are fighting corruption?". If in 2018 25% answered "rather effectively", then in the winter of 2022-2023 - 50%. Therefore, we can cautiously assume that Ukrainians are now more optimistic about the fight against corruption than they were before the large-scale invasion (and compared to what it was before the Revolution of Dignity).


Graph 1. Over the past few months, information about corruption investigations, detentions, arrests, etc., has regularly appeared in the mass media. For you personally, this is rather evidence that …



From the West to the East, there are fewer and fewer people who believe that there are indeed attempts to fight corruption in Ukraine. However, in other regions, except for the East, there are more people who assess the situation positively than those who assess it negatively. Thus, in the West, 65% believe that the struggle against is, 32%, who, on the contrary, believe that Ukraine is "hopelessly corrupt". In the Center, the ratio is 60% against 34%, in the South - already 53% against 40%. In the East, there are slightly more people who have a negative assessment of the situation - 49% against 45% who believe that the fight against corruption is.


Graph2. Perception of the fight against corruption in the regional dimension




Readiness to make territorial concessions depending on how the fight against corruption in Ukraine is assessed


Critical assessments of the corruption situation are associated with a higher readiness for territorial concessions. Thus, among those who have a negative assessment of the situation, 25% are ready for territorial concessions, while among those who see positive developments - 4%.

At the same time, even among those who are critical of the corruption situation, the vast majority (66%) oppose territorial concessions (among those who positively assess the situation - 88% are against concessions)


Graph3. Readiness to make territorial concessions depending on how the fight against corruption in Ukraine is assessed



A. Hrushetskyi, comments on the survey results:


Corruption is a powerful trigger for Ukrainians, as it embodies for ordinary citizens both the moral and ethical dimension of ensuring justice and the cause of insufficiently high living standards. We have already noted that against the background of the invasion of Ukraine, there is an increase in trust in institutions associated with repelling the enemy. At the same time, trust in institutions in the sphere of ensuring justice, such as courts or prosecutor's offices or anti-corruption bodies, remains low. The window of opportunity is now open for them as well, so it is critical to make the necessary transformations.

Social scientists have shown in numerous studies that the subjective perception of reality often has a stronger influence than the objective state. In the period before / after the Revolution of Dignity, according to the results of large-scale surveys of the KIIS on corruption, the objective involvement of the population in corruption decreased, and according to the subjective perception of citizens, it seemed that it had increased (because the media began to feel freer and there was more in the media space information). At the same time, such a subjective perception had a significant political impact.

Now, the issue of fighting corruption is not just a matter of justice and a decent life, but also of Ukraine's survival in general. On the one hand, Western partners can limit support to Ukraine under the pretext of corruption. On the other hand, it can affect the perception of Ukrainians themselves about justice in the state and reduce the level of motivation for volunteer work and protection from the enemy.

The fight against corruption is a collective matter of the authorities, the media, the public sector, and ordinary citizens. The fight against corruption is the development of institutions and the formation of new transparent and fair rules of the game. The fight against corruption is a long process that takes years. The authorities, for their part, must realize the importance of the systematic fight against corruption, demonstrate transparency in their decisions, effectively interact and communicate with the media and the public. The media and the public, for their part, should be aware of the importance of a balanced coverage of the situation. Any potentially corrupt case is not a reason to earn a "political or audience rating". Coverage of anti-corruption activities should not leave ordinary citizens with a feeling of hopelessness, but a feeling that little by little the dragon is being overcome.




Annex 1. Formulation of questions from the questionnaire


Over the past few months, information about corruption investigations, detentions, arrests, etc., has regularly appeared in the mass media. For you personally, this is rather evidence that … RANDOMIZATION OF ORDER


There are indeed attempts to fight corruption in Ukraine, there are positive developments 1
Ukraine is hopelessly corrupt, there are no positive changes 2


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