Nearly Half of Ukrainians Back Accession to EU, NATO – Poll
The geopolitical orientations of Ukrainian citizens have changed dramatically after the Revolution of Dignity and Russia's armed aggression in Donbas, with most people now supporting the country's accession to NATO, a survey shows
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A nationwide survey of the Ukrainian population was conducted at the request of the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and presented during a public discussion entitled “Monitoring 2018: Main Trends of Changes in Public Opinion,” as reported by Ukrinform.
“In 2013, the absolute majority of citizens had a negative attitude towards accession to NATO (54%), almost half of citizens (49%) supported Ukraine’s joining the alliance of Russia and Belarus, and only the relative majority favored accession to the EU (42%). Now the share of supporters of the EU has grown to 48% (it was even higher in 2014-2015 – 50%), the relative majority is positive about joining NATO, and more than half of the population are now against joining the alliance of Russia and Belarus,” the study shows.
According to Iryna Bekeshkina, Senior Researcher at the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and Director of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, NATO’s support in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine has increased as well.
“If you look at the dynamics of those regions that are still opposed to NATO membership – first of all, eastern and southern regions – we will see that there has been up to 30% increase in NATO support, which was never recorded before. Previously, there was 14% throughout the country, and most of those against [joining NATO] were in Donbas. In 2013, support for membership in NATO was 0.3% there, or one in 283 people. It is 19-20% now. The difference is significant. Public opinion is changing in these territories,” Bekeshkina said.
She also spoke about the mood in these regions regarding upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections.
“If you look at the polls, then there is the biggest uncertainty in Donbas, and there is the greatest number of those not planning to go to the elections, not to mention that some regions will simply not have the right to do so. But the main thing is that we can watch how public opinion changed in Donbas. For example, according to the KIIS study, the level of separatism in those regions was very high in April 2014, and 30% wanted to secede from Ukraine, but certainly not 90% or even 50%. When we measured public opinion in these regions in early 2015, there were already 35% of them. Now it’s 5%,” the sociologist said.
A nationwide survey of Ukraine’s population was conducted at the request of the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine during September 13-29, 2018. A total of 1,800 respondents were interviewed in all regions of Ukraine, except for the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.