Why isn’t Andrej Babis in Evropské hodnoty/European Values’ crosshairs?

Why isn’t Andrej Babis in Evropské hodnoty/European Values’ crosshairs?

The Czech Republic’s most active think-tank has barely criticized, let alone mentioned their future Prime Minister Andrej Babis – a man who isn’t exactly a shining example of western liberal democracy in action.

Remember, Babis is someone who’s:

  • The second-richest man in the country, with his Agrofert conglomerate having its hands in everything from fertilizers and farm equipment, to two of the largest Czech newspapers and its most popular radio station.
  • Been accused of having been a Communist-era Czechoslovak secret police agent (though an appellate court in Slovakia “affirmed Mr. Babis was not an agent of the secret police”).
  • Been caught on tape earlier this year coordinating coverage of his political opponents with a journalist at one of the purportedly independent newspapers he owns.
  • Accused of numerous conflicts of interest, and now someone who’s had his parliamentary immunity stripped over fraud allegations.
  • Been recently described to me as “Trump, Berlusconi and Orban all in one.”
Babis’ paper: “Accept the Euro, fast!” Non-Babis paper: “Juncker: I don’t dictate anything to Czechia” (from https://twitter.com/FilipZajicek/status/908226594979958784)

Let’s also not forget some of the Russia-related allegations that have been thrown at Babis.

  • He’s called EU and US sanctions on Russia “nonsense” and said they’re against the country’s economic interests – a line I’ve personally heard from some Kremlin-friendly figures across Europe.
  • He’s dodged questions on whether Putin bore the blame for annexing Crimea, and has said NATO “cannot stay on this idea that Russia is the biggest problem.”
  • Under his watch the Czech finance ministry (more accurately, the Czech Export Guarantee Agency (EGAP)), underwrote a loan guarantee to PhosAgro, a Russian company co-owned by Putin pal Vladimir Litvinenko.
  • In 2007 Babis’ Agrofert tried to negotiate a gas deal with the Czech subsidiary of Gazprom instead of its then-current German supplier.

These aren’t necessarily super-Kremlin smoking guns, but I’d think a group of people who are dedicated to ferreting out Kremlin interference in their country and beyond would at least be asking a few questions about the guy who’s about to run the show.

Sure, Babis is intimidating and is the kind of guy who likes to go after people who talk shit about him – I mean, look at all the corrections Foreign Policy had to add under this 2015 article when Babis went full Babis on them.

Full Babis.

I get why you’d want to be in his good side, but European Values isn’t exactly afraid to go after some other Czech and European political figures with less-than-subtle language: the German SPD and Sigmar Gabriel (Social Democrats), who want to “please the Kremlin;” the Czech Communists, guilty of “treason” for their broken record anti-NATO stance; and, least of all, Czech president (“rezident”) Milos Zeman, the “Kremlin’s Trojan horse.”

With elections/Babis’ coronation just over a month away I’m surprised European Values doesn’t have anything critical to say about Babis – or, really, anything about him at all.

Recent Czech survey data + elections = a disinformation site’s dream

Recent Czech survey data + elections = a disinformation site’s dream

The most recent round of Eurobarometer stats just came out, and they’re bad news for pretty much anyone in Czech politics right now.

Only 18% of Czechs trust their government right now, a decline of 10% from autumn 2016 – by far the sharpest decline in the EU – and only Greeks, Italians and Spaniards distrust their government as much as Czechs do.


Still, this isn’t nearly as ugly as the table for the question on trust in parliament…

Double oy.

Nobody in the EU distrusts their country’s parliament more than Czechs do right now, all thanks to the Czech government’s farcical three-part comedy act/political crisis over the past few months (yeah I linked to a Wikipedia article I don’t care).

This level of (dis)trust shows up in recent Czech Public Opinion Research Centre (CVVM) survey data too – their numbers also show that trust in President Miloš Zeman , the government (“Vláda”) and the Chamber of Deputies (“Poslanecká sněmovna,” the lower house of the Czech parliament) has completely tanked.

may 2017
“Table 1a: Population’s confidence in constitutional institutions (%) – comparison over time”

Worse, look at the way Czech satisfaction with the current political situation has driven right off the cliff after a slow recovery from 2013’s scandals.

political cvvm
“Graph 4: Satisfaction with the current political situation from 2011-2017 (Satisfaction Index 0-100)”

And, as if you needed another graph to show how bad it is, look at the drop for both president and government here (the blue and red lines, respectively).

cvvm trends
“Graph 3: Confidence in institutions 2011-2017 (confidence index)”

Numbers like this should be worrisome for a country at any time, but remember the Czechs are going to the polls in just under four months to elect a new parliament – and at the polls again not long after to vote for president.

If I were, say, part of a government of an unnamed country’s efforts to interfere and meddle in other countries’ elections, I’d be all over the Czech Republic this summer.

…to that end, another set of numbers I’ve had kicking around for a few weeks from two previous Eurobarometer surveys (both autumn 2016) show just how said unnamed country’s efforts could actually work.

One, Czechs seem to trust social media more than most other Europeans. While it’s still a minority (40% disagreeing that “information on political affairs from online social networks cannot be trusted,” which is a mouthful of a double negative but yeah), it’s also more than any other EU country.


Eurobarometer’s data is free to download for losers like me, so I took a look in more detail at who exactly in the Czech Republic thinks information on politics from social media can be trusted (to the extent the data can tell me – the sample size is ~1,000, so it can’t be parsed all that much, and Eurobarometer IMO doesn’t have the best questions about education level and essentially not much useful on income or a proxy for income).

As shouldn’t be any surprise, it’s the young: 60% of Czechs aged 15 to 24 disagreed that “information on political affairs from online social networks cannot be trusted” compared to 48% of those 25 to 39, 44% of those 40 to 54 and 27% of those 55 and older. Also interesting are the “don’t knows” – only 5% of 15 to 24 year olds compared to 19% of those 40 to 54 and 39% of those 55 and older.

The same trends show up in different questions about social media – in this one below, for example, Czechs are among the most likely in the EU to think social media is reliable.

social media

Interestingly, 49% of those 15 to 24 years old, 50% of those 25 to 39 and 46% of those 40 to 54 think social media is reliable – in other words, a similar if not identical proportion – but only 31% of those 55+ think social media’s reliable.

One of these Eurobarometer surveys, coincidentally, happened to ask people their attitudes about various countries, including Russia (my mention of Russia is, of course, purely hypothetical and definitely, definitely not related to the “unnamed country” above).

Run what Czechs think about social media (i.e., the agree/disagree question on whether it’s reliable) against what they think of Russia and the results are pretty interesting – Czechs who think social media is reliable also tend to be more positive towards Russia.

   Total “positive” towards Russia   Total “negative” towards Russia
 Social media reliable?  49% 49% 
 Social media unreliable?  35% 64% 

Caveat, though. This question about being positive/negative towards Russia isn’t necessarily a proxy for what they think about the Kremlin or, for that matter, anyone else in the world. It doesn’t necessarily mean the respondent is some sort of zombie “radicalized by Russian propaganda” or even necessarily positive towards the Kremlin or Russia’s foreign policy, etc. Also, some respondents may well have interpreted the question as being positive/negative towards Russian people in general. Still, it’s interesting that the data falls out this way – and falls out this way across many other EU countries – and merits a hell of a lot more study than it’s getting.

There’s a ton more numbers I haven’t mentioned here (e.g., Czechs get more news from websites and trust the Internet more than most other Europeans) that, in all, paint a potentially very ugly picture – a population that increasingly distrusts its politicians and tends to trust social media and the web more than most other people. It’s a disinformation site’s dream.

Another quick look at Bulgaria’s “Gallup International” (aka Part II)

Another quick look at Bulgaria’s “Gallup International” (aka Part II)

I’ll forgive you if you don’t remember Bulgaria’s Gallup International (no, not that Gallup – the Gallup International “being sued by Gallup Inc. for using its name without authorization”), who very briefly popped into western headlines in March thanks to a Wall Street Journal article.

Published only days before the election, the article alleged that the pro-Kremlin Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) received a secret strategy document proposing, among other things, that they “promote exaggerated polling data” to help build momentum for the party and get them elected. Gallup International was specifically named in the article, and referred to by Bulgaria’s former ambassador to Moscow Ilian Vassilev as one of Moscow’s “Bulgarian proxies”; Vassilev, talking about a poll Gallup International published on an apparent lack of NATO support in Bulgaria, accused the polling agency of making a “wrapped-in-secrecy poll [that] had no details on methodology nor funding sources.”

Of course, the WSJ article wasn’t without its critics, myself included. One journalist in Bulgaria said the WSJ article “completely ignored all the internal political factors that led to the landslide victory of [President] Rumen Radev and focused only on Russian influence in elections,” which ultimately, in his opinion “backfired, instead of there being alarms for (legitimate) concerns about Russian involvement in Bulgaria.” (To say nothing of the role of the “crackpot outfit” at RISI apparently being involved in producing the document.)

Debates about the scope and scale of Russian influence in Bulgaria aside, I decided to take a look at polling data in Bulgaria leading up to the parliamentary election on March 26. Is there anything to support this idea that Gallup International and potentially other Bulgarian pollsters have used and promoted “exaggerated polling data” to benefit the BSP?

There might be.

Here’s a table of all the polls I’ve been able to find in 2017 leading up to the election, with levels of party support noted and the final actual election results at the bottom.

bulgaria poll jpg

(larger pdf of same chart here: Bulgaria polls)

Almost all polls from polling firms like Trend Research (3 of 3), Alpha Research (3 of 3, and, full disclosure, whose managing director I interviewed as part of my April piece for Coda Story) and Estat (2 of 3) showed Boyko Borisov’s GERB having a lead.

To break it further down (remembering that GERB ended up winning by 5.6%)

  • Trend Research: average GERB lead of 1.93%
  • Alpha Research: average GERB lead of 2.77%
  • Estat: average GERB lead of 3.47%

But the story’s pretty different with Gallup International, who one Bulgarian source described to me as “the main political/sociological advisor of the [BSP] at election time.” They published four polls during the campaign, only one of which showed GERB in the lead – their final poll, about a week before the vote, which showed GERB with only a 0.6% lead. On average, Gallup International’s polls showed an average BSP lead of 0.7% throughout the campaign.

Again, GERB ended up winning by 5.6%.

The numbers are even stranger for AFIS, a pollster run by Yuriy Aslanov, a sociologist who has sat on the BSP board. Both its polls showed the BSP in the lead by an average of 1.3%.

Again, GERB ended up winning by 5.6%.

In sum – a pollster that’s been accused as being part of an effort to “promote exaggerated polling data” on behalf of the party it’s linked to consistently showed results that played up the support for said party, contradicting most other polling firms’ results throughout the campaign. As a western observer and polling nerd who’s worked for multiple firms in Canada and the UK, I feel I’m in a position to confidently say this isn’t normal.

Of course, this all needs a few caveats. There’s absolutely no evidence of anyone cooking up numbers or anything like that – I am accusing no one of that. I’m also well aware of how statistics work and am well aware of the (however unlikely) possibility that these figures from Gallup International and AFIS are all down to random survey errors or even differences in methodology. Still, something’s off here.

Above all though, I’d stress this message to other journalists who haven’t had the pleasure of drowning a considerable part of their adult lives in SPSS – if some polling numbers look consistently very different from what other polling numbers are saying, ask why. Sometimes it’s an easy answer – a different, new methodology that may or may not pan out, a rogue poll (i.e., the one out of 20) or the polling firm just really sucks. But sometimes it’s not that simple.

A quick look at Bulgaria’s “Gallup International”

A quick look at Bulgaria’s “Gallup International”

Something in this WSJ story about Russian meddling in Bulgaria caught my eye – the bits about “exaggerated polling data” and this rather curiously-named polling firm:

“A Bulgarian polling company, Gallup International, which isn’t related to U.S. pollster Gallup Inc., accurately predicted Mr. Radev’s victory. The company, which is being sued by Gallup Inc. for using its name without authorization, also co-published a February poll that said citizens of four NATO members, including Bulgaria, would choose Russia, rather than NATO, to defend them if they were attacked. Those results were at odds with a similar poll by Gallup Inc., published a few days earlier, showing that most NATO members in Eastern Europe, including Bulgaria, see the alliance as protection.

Gallup International didn’t respond to requests for comment.

“This wrapped-in-secrecy poll had no details on methodology nor funding sources,” said Ilian Vassilev, Bulgaria’s former ambassador to Moscow. “Russian media strategists and their Bulgarian proxies used the Western name to fool people about its credibility and spread their message.””

So I decided to take a quick look at Gallup International’s website, here. Without digging into the actual polls they do themselves, not much to comment on here.

Things are a bit more interesting on the affiliations page.

esomar 2
Screenshot, March 24, 2017

First on their list of affiliations is the WIN/Gallup International, “made up of the 80 largest independent market research and polling firms in their respective countries.” It’s an affiliation I’ve never come across and has several members I’ve either never heard of or are minor players in their respective countries (not including Leger in Canada, who’s well established in Canada and, coincidentally, also part of ESOMAR), which I guess underscores the “independent” part of the description.

But it’s the ESOMAR bit which interests me most. ESOMAR is a large, well-respected international network of market research firms who abide by a code and guidelines on market research. Not everyone’s a member of ESOMAR (in fact, none of the big firms I worked for were members) but it’s a reassuring thing to see on a polling firm’s site if you know nothing about them.

But this is what you get when you do a search for Gallup International in the ESOMAR directory.

esomar 1
Hmm. (Screenshot, March 24, 2017)

I double-checked the list of Bulgarian members to make sure I didn’t miss them. There are eight Bulgarian members of ESOMAR, according to the directory. Gallup International isn’t one of them.



Radical Party vs. far-right party support in Ukraine: how similar is it?

Radical Party vs. far-right party support in Ukraine: how similar is it?

(the title of this post explains it. there’s hockey on so I can’t be arsed with a preamble)

I did a bit of analysis using the most recent publicly available Ukraine data set I have – the May 2016 edition of the KIIS Omnibus survey of 2,000 Ukrainians in government-controlled parts of the country (as always, no Crimea, no unrecognized “DNR”/”LNR” statelets). The September 2016 data set will be available in February, they tell me.

I grouped together supporters of the three far-right parties that showed up in the May survey (Svoboda, Pravyi Sektor and Yarosh’s Governmental Initiative) and compared them to Radical Party supporters to see how similar they are.

The answer? Not very.

Age: Radical Party supporters tend to be older (average age 52.2 years old) than far-right party supporters (45.8 years old) [p≤.01].

Settlement size: Radical Party supporters are more likely to live in communities of less than 100,000 people (16.9%) than in cities with more than 100,000 people (10.3%) [p≤.01] – but there’s no significant difference for far-right party supporters.

Urban/rural: Obviously related to settlement size, Radical Party supporters were more likely to be from a rural area (18.6% compared to 11.1% urban; p≤.01). Again, there’s no significant difference for far-right party supporters, even if the numbers appear to slightly skew rural.

Attitudes towards Russia: Shocking no one, far-right party supporters are more likely to have bad/very bad views towards Russia (16.9% compared to 3.7% ‘good/very good’)[p≤.01]. Not so for Radical Party supporters – there’s no significant difference.

Will Ukraine be better/worse?: Far-right party supporters are more likely to think that the situation in Ukraine will be better (14.6%) or the same (15.7%) in a year’s time, compared to 6.9% ‘worse’. [p≤.01]. There’s no significant difference for Radical Party supporters.

Ukraine’s leaders moving country in right/wrong direction?: While Radical Party supporters are more likely to think the country’s going in the wrong direction (15.8% compared to 6.5% ‘right direction’; [p≤.01]), there’s no significant difference for far-right party supporters.

Perceived income: I’ve split the perceived income question in two (there’s five categories, with almost no one picking the fifth, ‘richest’ category) – think of it like ‘perceived lower income’ versus ‘perceived higher income’.

With that in mind, Radical Party supporters were more likely to describe themselves as part of that lower-income group; their household situations tend to be “lacking money for food” or “enough money for food but not for clothes” compared to having enough money for clothes or to buy expensive things (16.6% compared to 7.9%)[p≤.01]. As for far-right party supporters, there were no significant differences here.

Reported income: Radical Party supporters were more likely to report they earned less than 3000 UAH a month (16.6% compared to 10.1% more than 3,000 UAH/month)[p≤.05], while there was no significant difference for far-right party supporters. This question, FWIW, doesn’t appear on all KIIS surveys.

Region: Far-right support tends to come from western Ukraine (21.7%), compared to 7.0% in central Ukraine, 5.3% in southern Ukraine and 3.1% in eastern Ukraine [p≤.01]. Radical Party support, on the other hand, is actually pretty even across western, central and southern Ukraine (14%-16%).

Education: Like with perceived income I’ve had to split education into two broad categories – ‘lower-educated’ and ‘higher-educated’. Using those categories Radical Party supporters tend to be lower-educated (19.3% compared to 11.8%)[p≤.01], while no significant difference appears for far-right party supporters.

Gender: Far-right party supporters are more likely to be men (14.7% compared to 7.2%) – no such significant difference appears for Radical Party supporters.


Based on this data, far-right party supporters and Radical Party supporters don’t look too much alike.

  • Far-right party supporters, relatively speaking, are young, predominantly male and concentrated in western Ukraine and have much more negative attitudes towards Russia.
    • Are they more concentrated in rural areas? They may well be, but the stats from this survey alone don’t allow me to draw that conclusion. If they are I suspect it’s a weaker relationship than for Radical Party supporters.
  • Radical Party supporters, on the other hand, tend to be older Ukrainians who live predominantly in rural areas across different regions of Ukraine, have lower levels of income and education and feel more pessimistic about where Ukraine’s headed.


1. This is one poll, taken at one point in time more than seven months ago. I want to repeat this with more recent data to see if these trends hold or whether new ones emerge (or with different data if someone wants to give it to me).

2. The small sample size of decided voters (less than half of the original sample of 2,000 Ukrainians) really inhibits the amount of analysis I can run – thus why you see some of these oversimplified ‘higher/lower’ categories. This means some of the possible nuances between the cracks don’t get captured (e.g., between four levels of perceived income or education, etc.). This also so means that some differences that weren’t statistically significant here could show up as significant in different, larger surveys.

3. (2a?) The sample size isn’t remotely big enough to try and do more complex analysis (e.g., logistic regression) to determine what variables (e.g., gender, age, etc.) make the biggest impact on far-right or Radical Party support. Bah.

Thoughts welcome, errata mine.

Trust, lack thereof and everything in between: end-of-year Ukraine poll

Trust, lack thereof and everything in between: end-of-year Ukraine poll

I found a few interesting things in the Razumkov Centre and the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation‘s new poll this week (in Ukrainian).

[usual preamble: polling done from December 16 through 20th in only government-controlled areas of Ukraine (i.e., no Crimea, no “DNR/LNR”), 2,000 respondents 18+, MoE 2.3%. Graphs below are mine, which mean any errors are likely mine]

1. Trust for some, not-particularly-high-levels-of-trust for others

Razumkov/DIF has asked Ukrainians for while now how much they trust a number of social institutions, from the President to the armed forces to NGOs (pages 13 through 15 of the PDF, in the back, for anyone following along at home). I’ve picked out a few from the 25-or-so list below.


These figures should (should) be worrying to anyone at the Bankova or the Rada – trust in the president (49% in 2014 to 24% in 2016) and in the Rada (31% to 12%) has tanked while trust in political parties (11% in 2016) is even lower. I haven’t graphed it out here but there’s obviously also been a corresponding increase in those who say they distrust the President (44% 2014: 69% 2016), the Rada (57% 2014: 81% 2016) and political parties (71% 2014: 78% in 2016). Keep in mind too that not a single individual Ukrainian politician is more trusted than distrusted (pages 5 and 6, question 7), so, ouch.

But who do Ukrainians trust more than their politicians? The armed forces, volunteer battalions, the National Guard, volunteer organizations and churches, not to mention Ukrainian media. Hmm.

2. We shall overcome, eventually

Ukrainians are less likely now than in 2014 to think the country’s “difficulties” (“труднощі” – native speakers, yell at me if there’s a better translation) will be overcome in the next few years, but I’d chalk this up more to realism than downright pessimism – the percentage of Ukrainians who say the country won’t be able to overcome its difficulties at all hasn’t significantly changed since 2014.


3. Optimists, pessimists and everyone in between

Buried way in back on page 14 of the PDF are some stats on whether a series of situations (24 of them) have got better, worse or stayed the same over the past year. I’ve picked a few below from both times DIF/Razumkov have asked the question.


Not too many Ukrainians felt things have got better over 2015 and 2016, but what’s most striking to me here is the percentage of Ukrainians who think the country’s international image hasn’t got better over 2016.

(I’ve drawn up the “worse” and “stayed the same” graphs separately, largely so I didn’t have to produce one graph with an absolute rainbow of shit in it.)

What do people think has got worse? Ukraine’s international image, for one, alongside social protection and the situation in Ukraine as a whole.


The “stayed the same” graph makes sense once you’ve seen the better/worse graphs but on its own here is pretty much useless. Whatever.


I’m not too surprised by much here, except the “Ukraine’s international image” question. What were respondents thinking exactly when they answered this?

4. Party time!

I’ve drawn up some graphs of party ratings over 2016 in DIF/Razumkov’s polls as well as KIIS’s polls for comparison.

I’ve included major (generally +5%) parties plus those scary right-wing parties that inherently must accompany any discussion of Ukrainian politics in English regardless of whether it feels like some of these parties could fit all their voters on a couple of school buses.



Batkivshchyna’s gone up some, BPP and Samopomich have gone down some, the Opposition Bloc may have dropped a bit, Lyashko’s Radical Pitchforker Party’s generally stayed the same and Svoboda and the other three Peoples’ Front of Judaea sects are wheezing after participation ribbons. That’s about it.

I think the bigger story here – and what I’d personally like to focus on more as I nerd around with polls like these and raw data sets in 2017 – is that more Ukrainians say they don’t know who they’re going to vote for, and even more (depending on the survey) say they won’t vote at all. Yeah, looking at the jockeying and horseracing from all these parties-spun-off-from-other parties and renamed-and-renamed-again parties tells us something, but it doesn’t tell us enough. Who isn’t voting? Why? Who doesn’t know who they’re going to vote for? Why? Do their social/political attitudes differ from decided voters? And so on.


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.