The majority of Ukrainians continue to be pro-European and say their country should join the EU and NATO. At the same time, skepticism towards Russia is growing and most Ukrainians do not support a deepening of relations with Moscow. Those are just some of the findings from a recent Bertelsmann Stiftung survey.
The majority of Ukrainians continue to be pro-European and support their country joining the EU and NATO. The stronger ties to the west do, however, give rise to a number of expectations. At the same time, most of the Ukrainian population rejects further rapprochement with Russia. Those are the findings of a survey conducted in July by the Bertelsmann Stiftung together with the Warsaw-based Institute of Public Affairs.
As was the case in a survey carried out by the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Institute of Public Affairs in 2013, more than half of Ukrainians continue to support Kiev's pro-European course in 2015. Overall, 51% are in favor of joining the EU and 67% support becoming a member of NATO. The issue of European integration does, however, result in a generational divide. Older respondents view a pro-western orientation much more skeptically than younger Ukrainians, with 60% of 18- to 24-year-olds endorsing a pro-western stance, while only 48% of 50- to 60-year-olds and 42% of those over 60 say they are in favor of it.
For its supporters, accession to the European Union is tied to a number of expectations. First they feel humanitarian assistance should be forthcoming from the EU for Ukrainians fleeing the military conflict with Russia (75%), followed by economic support (73%), visa-free travel (56%) and military aid in the form of equipment and training for the soldiers fighting in eastern Ukraine (55%). However, only one in three respondents is in favor of using western ground troops to support the Ukrainian army in the military conflict with Russia.
Ukrainians are divided over the question of whether their country has currently distanced itself from the EU or not. Most respondents (44%) believe that Ukraine has neither moved closer to Europe nor moved further away. In contrast, 21% feel that the two sides have become closer, while 23% say the opposite is true.
Skepticism towards Moscow and rejection of Eurasian alliance grow
The relationship between Russia and Ukraine has clearly deteriorated over the course of the conflict between the two countries. While in 2013 63% of Ukrainians still felt that deepening relations with their neighbor would be in the best interests of Ukraine, only 30% feel that way today. In addition, only 17% of respondents currently support the Eurasian Economic Union being promoted by Russia and say Ukraine should become a member. In 2013, twice as many Ukrainians endorsed that idea. In addition, approximately half of the survey’s respondents say Moscow is responsible for the current military confrontation. One-third say both countries are responsible, while 9% view Kiev as the cause of the violent conflict.
Majority of Ukrainians support western sanctions against Russia
A majority of 65% of Ukrainians support the sanctions imposed on Russia by western nations. Half of the respondents (50%) say the sanctions should be increased, while 15% feel they should be maintained at their current level. A small minority is for reducing (6%) or removing (8%) the sanctions. One-fifth of those surveyed say they are undecided.
Most Ukrainians also have a favorable view of the western nations' policy toward Moscow. The strongest endorsement is given to the Polish government (57%), followed by the German and US governments (51% and 46%, respectively). Here, too, one-fifth of respondents say they are undecided about how to rate the approach taken by western states toward Russia.
Please find the complete survey on the right side (in English and Polish). The video below gives a compact overview over central findings of the survey.
About the survey
The representative survey was conducted from July 22 to 27, 2015, on behalf of the Bertelsmann Stiftung and the Warsaw-based Institute for Public Affairs by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Olexander Razumkov Ukrainian Centre for Economic and Political Studies. A total of 2,011 Ukrainians 18 years of age or older were interviewed for the survey. Interviews were not conducted in the "Autonomous Republic of Crimea" and the areas occupied by Russia and pro-Russian separatists in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions.