As Ukrainians remember the bloodiest days of the revolution three years ago, I’ve gone back into the last few months of poll/survey data and pulled out a few numbers that I think are worth keeping in mind, particularly for westerners and outsiders like me who are desperately trying to understand: what do Ukrainians think?
1. Barely anyone thinks life’s got better since Euromaidan
Some discomfiting numbers from a Sofia poll in November – 82% of Ukrainians think their lives have gotten worse since Euromaidan (29% ‘a little worse’; 53% (!!) ‘much worse’). Only 5% think life has improved.
2. Most Ukrainians think the country’s going in the wrong direction
From the same Sofia poll – 73% of Ukrainians think the country’s going in the wrong direction (30% ‘generally in the wrong direction’; 43% ‘definitely in the wrong direction’.
3. Barely anyone trusts the President, Rada, political parties or any politician at all, for that matter
“…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.”
4. Barely anyone’s satisfied with the President, Rada, etc.
In the aforementioned Sofia poll in November, 75% of Ukrainians disapproved of the job Poroshenko’s doing, and in a Rating poll from December 82% of Ukrainians surveyed said they were dissatisfied with him. The numbers from Prime Minister Volodymyr Hroisman and Speaker of the Rada Andriy Parubiy aren’t much better – 78% and 82% dissatisfied, respectively.
5. Some Ukrainians still say the Euromaidan was ‘an illegal armed coup’, though most disagree
This was a fascinating survey by KIIS for Detektor Media trying to unpack the influence of Russian propaganda in Ukraine. One of the tropes we’re all familiar with is that Euromaidan was totally some kind of Nazi-fascist-Junta-Banderite-Victoria Nuland’s cookies-Soros-Obama-NATO-CIA-drugged tea-EU coup (take your pick), and a good number of Ukrainians, it seems, buy it…34% of Ukrainians across the country agreed with the statement that ‘the events of 2014 in Kyiv were an illegal armed coup’, with numbers higher in the south (51%) and east (57%).
On the other hand, most Ukrainians (56%) agreed that ‘the events of 2014 in Kyiv were a peoples’ revolution’, with numbers highest in the west (81%) and centre (61%) of the country.
Weirdest, though, are the 9% of people who said ‘the events in Kyiv’ were both an ‘illegal armed coup’ and ‘a peoples’ revolution’. Yeah, I don’t get that.
6. Ukrainians don’t feel all that comfortable with their personal/family financial situations
A more recent poll from Rating showed that “half of…respondents considered their family’s financial status to be unsatisfactory whilst only 15% deemed that they had satisfactory finances for life, and one-third declared themselves to be at poverty level. The highest number of poor people being recorded in the East, among older people and those with a low education level.” [my bold]
7. Are there any silver linings here at all or just a list of depressing statistics?
Here’s an attempt to find a relevant silver lining from the Razumkov Centre and the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation‘s year-end poll – the new patrol police are more trusted than mistrusted (46% trust, 41% mistrust), and the old militsiia are a bit less mistrusted than they used to be (23% trust in 2016, 11% in 2015 and 16% in 2014).
Feel free to look through the polls I’ve linked to here and tell me what you think I’ve missed.