Attitudes in Ukraine toward Russia, Russians Divide along Regional Lines

October 6, 2014

Staunton, October 3 – Despite the Russian invasion, approximately half of all residents of Ukraine continue to have a generally positive view of Russia and Russians, but their attitudes vary among regions with those in the predominantly ethnic Ukrainian west having more negative attitudes and those in the more heavily ethnic Russian east more positive ones.

Those are the findings of a poll conducted last month by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology among 2,000 residents of Ukraine and published today by Olga Meshcheryakova on the Novy Region-2 news agency site.

For Ukraine as a whole, the poll found. 14.4 percent of those queried had a very positive attitude toward Russia with 33.7 percent more saying that they had a positive view on the whole. At the same time, 22.6 percent of Ukrainian residents said they had a mainly negative attitude toward Russia, with an additional 18.7 percent saying they had a “very poor” view of Russia.

But the mix in attitudes varied widely among Ukraine’s regions. In Western Ukraine, only 2.9 percent respondents have a very positive view of Russia, although 22.3 percent more have a generally positive one. Some 35.6 percent have a mainly negative view of Russia, and 32.1 percent have a very poor one.

In central Ukraine, 1.9 percent of respondents expressed a very good view of Russia, with 30 percent saying they had a mainly positive one. At the same time, 28.3 percent had a mainly poor one, and 25.6 percent a very poor one. In southern Ukraine, the corresponding figures were 19, 39.8, 17.7 and 9.1 percent.

In Kharkiv Region, 49.3 percent of respondents said they had a very positive view of Russia, with another 30.6 percent saying they had a mainly positive one, according to the poll. Only 19.4 percent had a poor or very poor view of Russia. In Donetsk Region, the corresponding figures were 34.3, 50, 4.5 and 3 percent.

As far as the attitude of Ukrainian residents to Russians is concerned, these regional differences were reflected as well. For Ukraine as a whole, 20.9 percent of Ukrainians had a very good attitude toward Russians, and 53.1 percent had a generally positive one. Twelve percent had a generally poor attitude toward Russians and 5.6 had a very poor one.

Regionally, the corresponding figures were these: in Western Ukraine, 7.7, 57.9, 21.3 and 6.7 percent; in central Ukraine, 9.2, 54, 16.2, and 9.2 percent; in southern Ukraine, 29.6, 51, 7.3, and 2.2 percent; in Kharkiv oblast, 51.5, 39.6, 4.5 and 4.5 percent; and in Donetsk oblast, 37.8, 52.6, 1.2, and 2.4 percent.

(The figures do not add to 100 percent because they do not include the small shares of people who said they had difficulty answering or did not provide an answer.)