Comparing Ukrainian & Russian attitudes toward each other (KIIS/Levada Centre data)

Comparing Ukrainian & Russian attitudes toward each other (KIIS/Levada Centre data)

KIIS and Levada released results this week from their regular surveys of Russians and Ukrainians and their attitudes towards each other (link to KIIS in Ukrainian, Levada’s link in Russian).

tl;dr: Ukrainians tend to have more positive attitudes towards Russia than vice versa.

  • Attitudes of Ukrainians towards Russia:
    • 40% of Ukrainians in September 2016 said their attitudes towards Russia were ‘good’ or ‘very good’ (an statistically insignificant change from May 2016)
    • 46% of Ukrainians in September 2016 said their attitudes towards Russia were ‘bad’ or ‘very bad,’ a significant increase from 43% in May 2016
  • Attitudes of Russians towards Ukraine:
    • One in four Russians (26%) said their attitudes towards Ukraine were ‘good’ or ‘very good’, a significant drop from 39% in May 2016 – which was itself a significant increase from 27% in February 2016. Some zigzaggin’ goin’ on here.
    • 56% of Russians said their attitudes towards Ukraine were ‘bad’ or ‘very bad,’ a significant increase from 47% in May.

The data over time since 2008 is pretty interesting, so interesting I decided to make a barely readable graph. Ukrainians’ attitudes to Russia = blue. Russians’ attitudes to Ukraine = yellow/…mustard?


A few observations, if you haven’t got a headache yet from having to squint at this thing:

  1. At no point are Ukrainians’ attitudes towards Russia worse than Russians’ attitudes towards Ukraine, even in the aftermath of the annexation of Crimea and the start of war in Donbas by May 2014. At every single data point Ukrainians have more positive and less negative feelings about Russia than Russians have for Ukraine.
  2. Russians’ attitudes towards Ukraine got really damn low in late 2008/early 2009. A function of Yushchenko’s presidency and the gas disputes?
  3. Once Yanukovych got elected in February 2010, Russians’ attitudes tend to even out (keeping in mind the gaps in actual survey dates in 2011).
  4. Ukrainians’ attitudes have got a bit better towards Russia recently but, not surprisingly, are still far below pre-Maidan levels.
  5. I can’t explain the zigzagging with Russians’ attitudes over 2015/2016. If you can, great.

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 2

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 2

As promised to my legions of readers, some more stats and fancy graphs breaking down what Czechs think about Islam using European Social Survey data (2014).

(Lack of) trust

Respondents were asked three questions about how much they trusted the people around them, screenshotted here to save me from having to explain it.


People who said they didn’t want any Muslims to be allowed to come live in Czechia scored lower on average on all three questions – in other words, they were less trusting in general and more cynical of peoples’ intentions than Czechs who wanted to let Muslims to come live in the country.

“Social trust” might not be the best descriptor here, but you know what I mean.

This distrust extends to institutions – across all seven ‘trust in institutions’ questions (the same 0 – 10 scale, where 0 is ‘no trust at all’ and 10 is ‘complete trust’), people who didn’t want any Muslims were significantly less trusting of every social and political institution they were asked about.


“If I thought I’d make a difference..”

Respondents were also asked a series of question about political efficacy, the belief that one has the ability to influence politics and political affairs.  Again, questions screenshotted here.



You can probably guess what the trend is here before you see it – people who don’t want Muslims in Czechia feel they have less ability to influence politics and have a say (i.e., they feel less efficacious, for anyone who actually likes that word).


Čas na party?

The most interesting of these breakdowns, in my opinion…

For reference, the popular vote percentages and seat breakdowns from the last Czech parliamentary election in October 2013 (descriptors of each party are in the graph itself):

  • CSSD: 20.5%, 50 seats
  • ANO 2011: 18.7%, 47 seats
  • KSCM: 14.9%, 33 seats
  • TOP 09: 12.0%, 26 seats
  • ODS: 7.7%, 16 seats
  • Usvit: 6.9%, 14 seats
  • KDU-CSL: 6.8%, 14 seats

The findings? Supporters of the (now split up) far right populist/Eurosceptic movement under Tomio Okamura were the least in favour of allowing Muslims to come and live in Czechia (71% ‘no Muslims’), which isn’t a shock for a Front National-aligned movement.

But it’s who they’re followed by that’s most interesting to me. Supporters of the two most left-wing parties in Czechia – the Communists (63%) and the Social Democrats (59%), the largest party in the Czech parliament – were more likely than all but the far-right to be opposed to letting Muslims come and live in the country.


As a side note, these are also the parties that tend to be the most pro-Russian. Hmm.

Observations, qualifications, etc.

There’s a lot more that I can dig into here re: the predictors of not wanting Muslims in Czechia. Some of it, as I discussed a few weeks ago, is likely down to age (e.g., supporters of the Communists tend to be older than supporters of other parties). Some of it could be regional, some could be related to education or income, and some still could be related to factors I need to plug into a logistic regression model…

Another dose of Ukraine stats for Monday morning

Another dose of Ukraine stats for Monday morning

KIIS asked some of the same questions in both the May 2015 and May 2016 Omnibuses (their translations from the Ukrainian and Russian versions of the questionnaire):

  • “Do you consider yourself a happy person?”
  • “If to speak about Ukraine in general, how do you think, in one year from now the situation in Ukraine will be better or worse than now?”
  • “How do you think, in one year from now your family will live better or worse than now?”

First, Ukrainians aren’t exactly getting happier – 54% said they were happy in May 2016 compared to 59% a year earlier. It’s not a huge change, but it’s significant.


Second, Ukrainians are getting less optimistic about the future, as you can see below.


What’s also interesting is that fewer people in 2016 felt the questions about optimism were difficult to answer (i.e., don’t know)…


Some of the breakdowns for these questions are what you’d expect – i.e., older people, those with lower incomes/lower self-reported descriptions of their financial situation and those with lower levels of education= less happy and less optimistic about the future. I may dig in further. Ask and ye quite possibly may receive. Enjoy your Monday.

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 1

Czechs and Islam by the numbers, Part 1

Today I took a look at some numbers from my favourite data source right now (maybe a bit odd for a Canadian) – the most recent wave of the European Social Survey (ESS 2014).

I want to know more about what people think about Muslims in central and eastern Europe, and why. Fortunately there’s one question in the ESS that specifically asks people what they think of Muslims:



Only 44% of Czechs feel that a few, some or many Muslims should be allowed to come and live in their country – the lowest among all countries surveyed. I want to try and shed a bit more light on why this is the case and help us non-central/eastern-Europeans stop blaming these kinds of attitudes on some simplistic kind of eastern backwardness.

I’ve given minimal interpretation/commentary – yours are welcome.


Unsafe after dark

Czechs who feel unsafe after dark tend to be the least likely to want to allow Muslims to come and live in Czechia (yes, I’m finally calling it that).

For reference on the sizes of these groups: most Czechs felt safe (63.4%) or very safe (12.3%), while one-quarter felt unsafe (21.4% ‘unsafe’; 3.0% ‘very unsafe’)

Interestingly, a related question – whether you or a family member has been a victim of a theft or robbery in the last five years – showed no relationship at all.

Time to get to know your neighbours?

While Czechs who have at least some contact with a member of a different race or ethnic group tend to be pretty evenly split, Czechs who have the least contact with different races or ethnic groups tend to be much less likely to want to allow Muslims into the country.

‘Never’: 20.5% of all Czech respondents / ‘Less than once a month’: 16.0%

I touched on this in a post a few months ago on attitudes towards IDPs in Ukraine; the more contact people had with IDPs, the more positive their attitudes were towards them. The same goes for attitudes towards Muslims in the US and towards immigrants in general in the UK – familiarity really doesn’t breed contempt.

…and time to make some more friends?

People who had friends of different races and/or ethnic groups were more likely to be supportive of Muslims coming and living in Czechia compared to those who had none (no friends from a different race/ethnic group, not no friends at all [which the ESS does actually ask about]).

Most respondents (71.8%) weren’t friends with anyone from a different race/ethnic group (in fairness, not overly surprising in a country ~95% Czech). Still, 24.3% were friends with “a few” and 3.9% friends with “several.”

Again, this seems at least partly about familiarity not breeding contempt.

Immigants, I knew it was them!

Czechs who think the government treats new immigrants better than them are much more likely to feel no Muslims should be allowed to come and live in Czechia.


Overall numbers: 7.2% ‘much better,’ 27.0% ‘a little better,’ 52.6% ‘the same,’ 12.1% ‘a little worse’ and 1.2% ‘much worse’ (i.e., most Czechs don’t think immigrants get treated better – but a lot do)

Part 2 will come in a day or two with a look at some stats on political efficacy, (lack of) trust in governments and people and party affiliation.

Again, interpretations and such welcome.

The British far left and attitudes towards Jews, by some numbers

The British far left and attitudes towards Jews, by some numbers

(tl;dr: people who identify as far left or far right are much more likely to say that no Jews should be allowed to come and live in Britain, according to ESS 2014 data)

In the midst of analyzing some other data this afternoon I had the strange urge to look at a question from the 2014 wave of the European Social Survey (ESS) on attitudes towards Jews and whether it was related to left-right self-identification in the UK.

Here’s the relevant questions from the ESS:

Left/right self-identification
I’ve looked at data on D27 in other countries but nothing yet on D26…

As in some previous analysis I’ve done on left/right self-identification in the Czech Republic (fine, Czechia), I recoded the left-right scale into two versions –

  • Far left: 00 and 01
  • Left: 02, 03 and 04
  • Centre: 05
  • Right: 06, 07, 08
  • Far right: 09 and 10

And one with just one’extreme points’ on either end:

  • Far left: 00
  • Left: 01, 02, 03 and 04
  • Centre: 05
  • Right: 06, 07, 08 and 09
  • Far right: 10

Jews and the far left

The vast majority (94%) of respondents said that either many, some or a few Jews should be allowed to come live in Britain, with only 6% saying no Jews should be allowed at all.

But…regardless of how you slice up the left/right scale, British people who identify as furthest to the left or right seem a lot less keen on Jews than those in the relative middle on the spectrum.


Keep in mind that only 5.2% of respondents in total placed themselves on the far left of the scale – 12.6% of 5.6% of people isn’t exactly a ton of people. Still, after double-checking, there’s definitely a statistically significant difference between those on the far left versus left, middle left/right and right (not the far right, obviously).

This relationship holds up when you just take one extreme point as far left (00)/right(10).


Here only 3.2% of the survey placed themselves on the far left, but it’s still a significant difference – and the percentage gets pushed up even higher for both the far left and far right.


I leave the implications and conclusions of all this to people in the know.

Some fairly random Ukraine stats to start the week

Some fairly random Ukraine stats to start the week

I’ve had some of this data kicking around for a few days, in some cases a few weeks. Enjoy.

Ukraine’s optimists

In the May 2016 wave of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology’s Omnibus (the most recent publicly-available wave), respondents were asked (KIIS’ translation from Ukrainian/Russian versions):

If to speak about Ukraine in general, how do you think, in one year from now the situation in Ukraine will be better or worse than now? 

  • Only 10.6% of Ukrainians think things will be better; 31.3% think it’ll be the same and 47.5% think it’ll be worse.
  • People who think Ukraine will be better were more likely to say they’d vote for Bloc Petro Poroshenko (14.5% compared to 7.1% who said the situation will be the same and 3.2% who said it’ll be worse) and Samopomich (8.8% compared to 4.4% who said the situation will be the same and 3.2% who said it’ll be worse).
  • Conversely, people who think the situation in Ukraine will be worse were more likely to say they’d vote for the Opposition Bloc (9.1% of those who said the situation’ll be worse, compared to 3.7% who said it’ll be the same and a whopping 0.9% [!!] who said it’ll be better).
  • People who think the situation in Ukraine will be worse are less likely to say they’ll vote (28.1% compared to 21.0% same and 13.4% better).
  • Young Ukrainians (18 to 29 years old) are more likely than older Ukrainians (13.9%, compared to 8.0% of 60 to 69 year olds and 8.6% of those aged 70+) to think the country will be better.

The sausage fest on the far right

  • In the same May 2016 Omnibus just 2.9% of women said they’d vote for a far right party (i.e., Svoboda, Pravyi Sektor or Yarosh’s national whatever), compared to 6.9% of men (4.7% overall). Even with such a relatively small sample size for far-right supporters, this is a statistically significant relationship.
  • Same goes for the February 2016 Omnibus, when 2.8% of women and 5.3% of men would vote for a far-right party (3.9% overall)
  • The May survey also asked a number of questions about which social issues troubled people the most, asking respondents to choose the top three from a list. “Revival of the Ukrainian nation” was chosen by 4.2% of people –5.2% of men and 3.4% of women.
    • No, that’s not a huge difference (a Cramér’s V of .05 for anyone who cares) but it’s still a big enough one to be statistically significant.
    • Relevant/unsurprising too: 13.9% of supporters of far-right parties chose “revival of the Ukrainian nation” in their top three compared to 4.2% of all Ukrainians….


  • Women were more likely than men (27.9% compared to 21.5% in May 2016; 27.7% compared to 20.3% in February 2016) to say they were undecided, that they didn’t know who they were going to vote for.
    • There’s a separate post or article or two buried just in those numbers and others like it. Interpretations and perspectives more than welcomed, particularly from members of the human race who are a) Ukrainian and b) not men.

Depression in Ukraine

Lastly, some data from the 2012 European Social Survey (ESS), the last wave Ukraine took part in. Despite the name, fieldwork actually took place in July and August 2013 for anyone keen to place this data within a very specific pre-Maidan time frame.

This wave of the ESS used a shortened version of the Center for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale – a higher score on the index means you show more depressive symptoms.


Ukraine’s depression score was third highest out of all countries surveyed – and Ukrainian women had higher depression scores than Ukrainian men (8.14 compared to 7.12)
As in all ESS countries, depression scores were markedly different between younger and older respondents, but the difference was much starker in Ukraine

Comments, interpretations and questions welcome.

(new) party night in Ukraine

(new) party night in Ukraine

Yes, there’s yet another new party on Ukraine’s political scene – Azov’s new National Corps Party.

Friday they held their founding congress where, among other things, they agreed on policies to expand presidential powers, sever ties with Russia, expand the right to bear arms and  “[restore] the death penalty…for treason and the embezzlement of government funds by officials in excessive amounts” (uhh wut), capping off the day with a torchlit march through central Kyiv.

If they’re really, properly serious about becoming an electoral force (which is doubtful when their new leader says things like “[there] are several ways of coming to power, but we are trying something through elections, but we have all sorts of possibilities”[my emphasis]), they’re stepping into a crowded and not-particularly-profitable far-right marketplace.

Just look at recent KIIS poll numbers for the far-right/nationalist parties, below, shaded in boring grey (and that, as I’ve noted before, are far below those for other European far-right parties).

This isn’t even including the OUN, who polled a whopping 0.3% on a different firm’s poll a few weeks ago.

It’s the same story across all the polls over the last year – there’s “an already fragmented radical electorate,” and one that, even hypothetically (i.e., impossibly) combined, can barely toe past Ukraine’s 5 percent electoral threshold. And now this National Corps wants to squeeze itself in? Bonne chance, gentlemen. They might be able to fare better than some of their comrades in the short term – I predict they’ll poll reasonably well in the first few polls they show up in – but I imagine they’ll find their <5% ceiling in due course.

Yes, I’m far from Kyiv right now and have more familiarity with a bunch of numbers than anyone on the ground there more up to speed with the ins and outs of Ukraine’s factionalist far-right. Still, I don’t think this has much to do with proper, democratic party politics. To me this move seems to be about little more than trying to lend a veneer of legitimacy to a very small minority of football hooligans and hardcore hangers-on — a minority who remind me more and more of a gaggle of wannabe Montagnards than a genuine political party.