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Is there a war going on between Russia and Ukraine?

Comparison of views of the Ukrainians and the Russians on armed conflict in Donbas

Press release by Maryna Shpiker

There are big differences in how the Ukrainians and how the Russians see the role of Russiain what has been going on in Ukraine during the last two years. Opinion that there is a war between Russia and Ukraine is shared by 63% of the Ukrainians and 25% of the Russians. Also 65% of the Ukrainians and 27% of the Russians think there are Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine. While 83% of the Russians approve the accession of Crimea to Russia, only 10% of the Ukrainians share this view.

 

In a period of February 5-16, 2016 Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) has conducted own public opinion poll in Ukraine. Data were collected from 2020 respondents living in 110 settlements in all regions of Ukraine (except the AR of Crimea) through personal interviews. Sample is stochastic and representative for the population of Ukraine aged 18 and above.

In Luhansk region survey was conducted only on the territories controlled by Ukraine. In Donetsk region survey was conducted both on territories that are and that are temporarily not controlled by Ukraine.

The statistical sample error (with probability of 0.95 and design–effect of 1.5) does not exceed: 3.3% for indicators close to 50%, 2.8% – for indicators close to 25%, 2.0% – for indicators close to 10%, 1.4% – for indicators close to 5%, 0.7% - for indicators close to 1 or 99%.

Data of Levada-Center were used (report is available by the link http://www.levada.ru/2016/02/03/majdan-ukraina-krym/) for comparison. Levada-Center conducted it`s survey between the 22nd and 25th of January, 2016, with the sample of 1600 people living in 137 settlements in 48 regions of the country, what is representative for rural and urban population of Russia aged 18 and above. Research was conducted at respondents’ homes using the method of personal interview. Statistical error does not exceed 3.4%.

Comparison of results of KIIS and Levada Center surveys shows significant differences between Ukrainian and Russian views on Russia`s role in Ukrainian events. Position of the majority of the Russians has not changed much since 2014: they do not think Russia is participating in the conflict, and do not believe there are Russian troops in Ukraine. At the same time, most of the Ukrainians are sure about the war going on between the countries what is proved by presence of Russian troops on the territory of Ukraine. Russian and Ukrainian evaluations of events of 2014 are also opposite to each other: the Russians mostly approve the accession of Crimea, the Ukrainians mostly condemn that action.

 

Most of the Ukrainians agree there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine: 63% of respondents support this opinion, 18% - do not support, 19% - did not answer. At the same time, the Russians do not agree there is a war going on between the countries: only 25% of respondents think that Ukraine and Russia are fighting, 65% - have the opposite opinion, 11% - did not answer the question.

Graph 1. Level of agreement with the statement that there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine (% of all respondents in Ukraine (N=2016) or Russia (N=1600).


In Ukraine, 65% of respondents believe in the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine. Other 13% of respondents think there is no Russian army on this territory, 22% do not have certain thoughts on this matter. Amongst the Russians: 27% of respondents support the opinion that some Russian troops are on the territory of Ukraine, 52% - do not agree, 21% did not answer.

Graph 2. Level of agreement with the statement that now there are Russian troops in Ukraine (% of all respondents in Ukraine (N=2014) or Russia (N=1600).

 

The Ukrainians evaluate the loss of Crimea very negatively: 62% of them definitely do not support the accession of the peninsula to Russia, 18% - rather not support. Also, 5% definitely approve and 5% rather approve the accession. Other 10% of respondents did not answer.

On the contrary, the Russians evaluate the accession of Crimea positively despite of all the consequences of this event for Russia: 47% of respondents definitely support the accession, 36% - rather support the accession. Only 4% of respondents condemn this event, 9% - rather disapprove, 4% did not give the answer.

Amongst the surveyed residents of Russia 61% think the accession of Crimea brought more benefits than damage, 20% think it brought more damage than benefits, 19% were not able to evaluate the consequences of the event.

 

Graph 3. Level of support of the accession of Crimea to Russia (% of all respondents in Ukraine (N=2014) or in Russia (N=1600).

 

 

Public opinion about all these matters has significant regional[1] differences:

  • In Western and Central regions, much more respondents agree that there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine: 88% of respondents in the West, 77% - in the Center. In South region 45% of respondents think so, in Eastern – 41%. Only 8% of Donbas population characterize these events between two countries as a war.

  • 89% of respondents in the West, 76% - in the Center, 57% - on the South, and  only 37% - in the East of the country are sure about the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine. In Donbas, only 6% agree that Russian army is on the territory of Ukraine.

  • Attitude toward the accession of Crimea to Russia is negative amongst the majority of residents of each region, except Donbas that is out of Ukrainian control, but still there are regional differences. In the West, 95% of respondents definitely, or rather disapprove this event, in the Center – 88%, on the South – 80%, in the East – 63%. In Donbas region, 16% of respondents disapprove the accession of Crimea to Russia.

  • In the East and on the South of the country there is a high level of uncertainty about the matters mentioned above. About a third of respondents were undecided about whether there is a war between Russia and Ukraine. As to the presence of Russian troops in Ukraine, 42% - in Eastern region and 30% - in South region were undecided. In Eastern region, one in five could not, or avoid assessing the accession of Crimea to Russia.



[1] Western macroregion: Volyns`ka, Zakarpats`ka, Ivano-Frankivs`ka, Lvivs`ka, Rivnens`ka, Ternopils`ka, Khmel`nytska, Chernivets`ka oblasts;

Central macroregion: Kyiv city, Kyivs`ka, Vynnyts`ka, Zhytomyrs`ka, Kirovograds`ka, Poltavs`ka, Sums`ka, Cherkas`ka, Chernihivs`ka oblasts;

South macroregion: Dnipropetrovs`ka, Zaporiz`ka, Mykolaivs`ka, Odes`ka, Khersons`ka oblast`;

Eastern macroregion: Kharkivs`ka, Donets`ka, Luhans`ka oblast`.

Also, there are some differences by the age:

 

  • Elder respondents differ from younger respondents, especially from those younger than 30 years old. In particular, former are less eager to call the conflict between Russia and Ukraine a “war”. Respondents aged 50 and above do not agree that there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine more often than  those aged 30 and less (18-30 – 13%, 50-65 – 20%, 66 and above – 21%).

  • 18% amongst the respondents aged 66 and above think there are no Russian troops in Ukraine, while there are only 8% of those in the age group 18-30.

  • 12% amongst the respondents aged 66 and above approve the accession of Crimea to Russia, while there are only 6% of those in the age group 18-30.

 


 

Addition 1

Formulation of questions from the questionnaire: KIIS survey (Ukraine)

Do you support the accession of Crimea to Russia? ONE ANSWER

Definitely yes 1 Rather no 3 DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 9
Rather yes 2 Definitely no 4    

What do you think, are there Russian troops in Ukraine now? ONE ANSWER

Yes, there are 1 No, there are no 2 DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 9

Do you agree that there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine?

Yes 1 No 2 DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 9

Formulation of questions from the questionnaire: Levada-Center survey (Russia)

Do you support the accession of Crimea to Russia?

Deginitely yes 1 Rather no 3 DIFFICULT TO SAY 5
Rather yes 2 Definitely no 4

What do you think, are there Russian troops in Ukraine now?

Yes, there are 1 No, there are no 2 DIFFICULT TO SAY 3

Do you agree that there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine?

Yes 1 No 2 DIFFICULT TO SAY 3

 


 

Tables

Do you support the accession of Crimea to Russia?

Table 1.1. Comparison of answers in Ukraine and in Russia

  Russia (Levada-Center) Ukraine (KIIS)
Definitely yes 47 4.6
Rather yes 36 4.6
Rather no 9 18.3
Definitely no 4 61.8
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 4 10.8
Total 100 100

 

Table 1.2.Comparison of answers across the regions of Ukraine

  Western Central South Eastern Donbas
Definitely yes  0.8    1.7    5.0    6.3    33.6  
Rather yes  0.8    2.3    3.8    8.9    25.7  
Rather no  12.5    12.4    29.8    24.2    11.6  
Definitely no  83.0    75.2    50.0    38.7    4.5  
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW  2.9    8.4    11.4    21.8    24.6  
Total  100    100    100    100    100  

 

Table 1.3.Comparison of answers across the age groups

  18-30 31-49 50-65 66+
Definitely yes  2.4    4.9    4.8    6.9  
Rather yes  3.4    4.9    4.8    5.3  
Rather no  16.7    16.3    19.0    22.8  
Definitely no  67.1    64.2    60.8    51.9  
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW  10.5    9.8    10.6    13.1  
Total  100    100    100    100  

 

Table 1.4. Dynamics of answers in Russia: comparison of the data from 2014 and 2016

  Russia (Levada-Center)
  December 2014 January 2016
Definitely yes 50 47
Rather yes 36 36
Rather no 7 9
Definitely no 3 4
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 4 4
Total 100 100

 

What do you think, are there Russian troops in Ukraine now?

Table 2.1. Comparison of answers in Ukraine and in Russia

  Russia (Levada-Center) Ukraine (KIIS)
Yes, there are 27 64.9
No, there are no 52 13.1
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 21 22.0
Total 100 100

 Table 2.2.Comparison of answers across the regions of Ukraine

  Western Central South Eastern Donbas
Yes, there are  89.3    75.9    57.2    36.6    6.4  
No, there are no  1.3    7.4    13.2    21.3    78.1  
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW  9.4    16.7    29.6    42.1    15.5  
Total  100    100    100    100    100  

Table 2.3.Comparison of answers across the age groups

  18-30 31-49 50-65 66+
Yes, there are  70.0    67.0    65.6    53.3  
No, there are no  8.2    13.2    14.3    17.9  
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW  21.8    19.8    20.1    28.7  
Total  100    100    100    100  

 

Table 2.4. Dynamics of answers in Russia: comparison of the data from 2014 and 2016

  Russia (Levada-Center)
  September 2014 January 2016
Yes, there are 29 27
No, there are no 49 52
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 23 21
Total 100 100

 

Do you agree that there is a war going on between Russia and Ukraine?

Table 3.1. Comparison of answers in Ukraine and in Russia

  Russia (Levada-Center) Ukraine (KIIS)
Yes 25 63.0
No 65 17.9
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 11 19.1
Total 100 100

 

Table 3.2.Comparison of answers across the regions of Ukraine

  Western Central South Eastern Donbas
Yes  87.5    77.1    45.4    41.1    7.8  
No  3.4    9.5    26.1    26.7    74.1  
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW  9.1    13.4    28.6    32.2    18.1  
Total  100    100    100    100    100  

 

Table 3.3.Comparison of answers across the age groups

  18-30 31-49 50-65 66+
Yes  66.4    64.9    63.2    54.6  
No  13.4    17.8    19.9    21.3  
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW  20.2    17.3    16.9    24.2  
Total  100    100    100    100  

 

Table 3.4. Dynamics of answers in Russia: comparison of the data from 2014 and 2016

  Russia (Levada-Center)
  April 2014 January 2016
Yes 34 25
No 57 65
DIFFICULT TO SAY/ DO NOT KNOW 9 11
Total 100 100

 

Regarding the commentary, please contact Maryna Shpiker: m.shpiker@kiis.com.ua

 


15.3.2016
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