Nadia Savchenko is the most trusted political figure in Ukraine, according to a new Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) poll.

Savchenko is the most trusted and least mistrusted political figure in Ukraine, but she’s also the political figure Ukrainians know the least about: 31% of them said it was ‘hard to say’ when they were asked to state whether they trusted her or not.

The level of trust in Savchenko as a politician varies across regions (below) but as I’ll explain there’s a lot of comparing-apples-to-oranges business going on with these numbers.

Nadia Savchenko Do not trust Trust Hard to say Don’t know
Ukraine 32.7 35.0 30.8 1.4
West 20.0 53.4 25.7 0.9
Central 36.5 35.5 27.6 0.3
South 29.8 26.2 38.7 5.3
East 35.3 21.3 40.9 2.5
Donbas (UA-gov’t controlled only) 63.6 10.1 26.4 0.0

Even in those regions where trust looks like it’s lower in Savchenko, it’s still actually quite high in comparison to other politicians:

  • In south Ukraine, she’s the fourth least mistrusted on the list (out of 25 names) and the third most trusted.
  • In east Ukraine, she’s also the fourth least mistrusted, and the fifth most trusted.

…and those Donbas numbers. Yeah, those definitely threw me for a loop at first.

But comparing trust in politicians in Donbas compared to other parts of Ukraine is the real clever fruit-related-comparison metaphor here, and that’s because people in Donbas barely trust anyone on that list.

That’s why, when you compare Savchenko’s level of trust in Donbas to her peers, she’s actually the sixth-least mistrusted (out of 25, remember) and, despite how low that 10.1% looks, she’s actually the third-most trusted politician in Donbas. So, yeah.

What’s good for Nadia Savchenko? A lot more Ukrainians trust her than any of her peers.

What’s not so good? A lot of people still say they don’t trust her (whether that’s a symptom of Ukrainians’ general sense of cynicism and mistrust in the political class or something specifically about her, I don’t know), and a lot of people don’t know very much about her – yet.