Press-releases

Russia-Ukraine Relations

The survey was conducted between September 20–26, 2018 using a representative sample of Russian urban and rural populations of 1600 people from the age of 18 and over in 136 localities of 52 of the country’s regions.  The research was conducted in-house in the form of personal interviews with the respondents. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the number of participants, together with the data from previous surveys.

Statistical error in the sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

3.4% for indicators close to 50%
2.9% for indicators close to 25% / 75%
2.0% for indicators close to 10% / 90%
1.5% for indicators close to 5% / 95%

The results of the research into public opinion demonstrating the attitudes of residents of Ukraine to Russia belong to the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS).

Monitoring Attitudes Towards the Neighbouring Country

The dynamics of perception of one another previously pointed to a more positive image of Russia among Ukrainians, than among Russians towards Ukraine.  Moreover, from the end of 2017, the opinions of Ukrainian society followed the trend of growth in positive relations to the neighbouring state.  Conversely, the negative attitudes of Russian residents towards Ukraine have been more consistent, and fluctuation in attitudes towards ‘the neighbour’ during this period are random and statistically insignificant.

The ‘Good Neighbourliness’ Index
(Calculated as the difference between positive and negative assessments + 100; the higher the index score, the more positive the attitude towards the neighbouring country)

What is your current general attitude towards Ukraine? (Opinions of Russian residents – Levada Center Data)

Very Good Generally Good Generally Bad Very Bad Difficult to Say
Sept.18 3 30 32 23 12
Jul.18 4 33 29 20 15
Mar.18 2 31 35 20 12
Jan.18 3 32 34 13 18
Dec.17 2 26 39 17 17
Sept.17 3 29 33 20 15
May.17 2 24 39 20 15
Mar.17 3 31 36 20 11
Jan.17 2 31 39 15 13
Nov.16 3 30 35 16 16
Sept.16 2 24 38 18 17
Jul.16 2 29 36 22 11
Jun.16 4 37 33 11 16
27-30 May 2016 4 35 37 10 13
22-25 May 2016 2 24 45 18 12
Mar.16 2 23 42 22 11
Jan.16 2 26 37 22 14
Nov.15 2 25 42 21 10
Sept.15 4 29 36 20 11
May.15 3 23 36 23 14
Mar.15 3 28 34 21 13
Nov.14 3 25 40 19 12
Sept.14 3 29 39 16 13
May.14 5 30 33 16 17
Mar.14 6 46 28 9 11
Sept.13 7 62 20 3 8
Mar.13 8 61 19 3 9
Sept.12 8 66 14 3 10

What is your current general attitude towards Russia? (Opinions of Ukrainian residents – KIIS Data)

Very Good Generally Good Generally Bad Very Bad Difficult to Say
Sept.18 10 38 19 13 19
Feb.18 6 39 24 14 18
Dec.17 6 36 24 16 19
Sept.17 7 30 24 22 17
May.17 5 38 22 15 19
Feb.17 8 32 25 21 15
Sept.16 7 33 26 20 15
May.16 9 33 29 14 15
Feb.16 9 27 28 19 16
Sept.15 9 25 22 31 13
May.15 5 25 25 32 14
Feb.15 7 27 24 27 15
Dec.14 7 29 26 22 16
Sept.14 14 34 23 19 11
Apr.14 17 35 19 19 10
Feb.14 27 51 11 2 9
Sept.13 34 54 7 2 4
Feb.13 32 53 6 1 6
Sept.12 34 49 8 3 6

If we turn to the data showing the desired type of relations with the neighbouring country, we see that the number of those in favour of a visa regime and those against are practically equal in both countries. It is worth noting that, until 2014, the share of Russians in favour of a border exceeded a similar share of Ukrainian residents supporting a visa regime with Russia.  Afterwards, however, we see the reverse situation with the figure of those in favour of a visa regime between the countries higher among the Ukrainian population than the Russian.  In September 2018, in comparison with March, the share of those in favour of a visa regime decreased in both countries: In Russia, because of an increase in respondents who selected ‘difficult to say’; in Ukraine, because of an increase those in favour of open borders and no visa regime.  However, it is impossible to say whether these fluctuations indicate a fundamental change in perception of one another (it would be necessary to monitor further dynamics).

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING OPINIONS REGARDING RUSSIA’S RELATIONS WITH UKRAINE WOULD YOU MOST AGREE WITH? (Opinion of Russians residents – Levada Center Data)

Russia’s relations with Ukraine should be as they are with other states – with closed borders, a visa regime, and customs Russia and Ukraine should be independent, but friendly, states – with open borders without visas and customs Russia and Ukraine should unite into a single state Difficult to say
Sept.18 32 45 16 6
Mar.18 39 45 10 5
Dec.17 33 49 10 8
Sept.17 34 49 11 6
May.17 35 50 9 5
Jan.17 33 53 9 5
Sept.16 39 48 8 6
May 16 36 53 7 4
Jan.16 32 52 11 5
Sept.15 25 59 8 7
May 15 30 54 10 6
Jan.15 33 52 8 8
Sept.14 26 62 7 5
May.14 28 54 12 6
Mar.14 16 50 28 7
Jan.14 19 59 16 6
Oct.13 23 55 16 6
May.13 19 58 15 8
Jan.13 13 64 18 6
Sept.12 14 60 20 6
May.12 17 62 14 7
Jan.12 16 61 16 8
Sept.11 16 63 14 6
May.11 16 64 15 5
Jan.11 20 61 13 6
Sept.10 16 60 18 6
May.10 17 64 13 6
Jan.10 25 55 14 6
Sept.09 25 55 13 7
May.09 25 55 14 6
Jan.09 29 51 12 8
Sept.08 24 52 13 11
Mar.08 19 56 19 6

HOW WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE UKRAINE’S RELATIONSHIP WITH RUSSIA? (Opinion of Ukrainian residentsKIIS data)

Relations should be with closed borders, a visa regime and customs Relations should be with open borders, without a visa regime or customs Ukraine and Russia should unite into a single state
Sept.18 39 50 4
Feb.18 44 44 3
Dec.17 45 40 4
Sept.17 49 40 4
May.17 43 47 4
Feb.17 47 43 2
Sept.16 49 43 3
May 16 44 44 3
Feb.16 43 43 4
Sept.15 46 45 2
May.15 45 46 2
Feb.15 48 43 4
Dec.14 50 42 3
Sept.14 45 44 5
Apr.14 32 54 8
Feb.14 15 68 12
Nov.13 12 73 9
May.13 11 69 14
Feb.13 13 68 16
Sept.12 11 72 14
Feb.12 13 69 16
Nov.11 13 67 16
Oct.10 10 67 20
Jun.10 12 70 16
Mar.10 11 67 19
Jan.10 8 66 22
Oct.09 11 67 19
May.09 10 65 23
Feb.09 8 68 23
Sept.08 17 66 16
Apr.08 10 67 20

ON THE QUALITY OF RELATIONS WITH ONE ANOTHER

In addition to regular questions regarding relations with the neighbouring country and borders from joint Levada-Center and KIIS monitoring, in September 2017 parallel questions were asked regarding representatives of the respondent’s own ethnic majority and the ethnic majority living in the neighbouring state, based on universal characteristics: Rational / impractical; peace-loving/ cruel; freedom-loving / downtrodden, etc.  Considering the continuing conflict between both countries, this question’s assessment of the ethnic majority was limited by territorial borders: in both countries, respondents were asked about ‘Russians’ who live in Russia, and about ‘Ukrainians’ living in Ukraine, excluding from the assessment ‘aliens’ living in the same state (‘Russians’ in Ukraine and ‘Ukrainians’ in Russia).

The Levada-Center earlier asked the question about qualities that allows us to trace how representations of ‘self’ and of the ‘other’ have changed or, on the contrary, remained the same throughout the last four years.  The frequency of choosing [positive] qualities, characterising ‘Russian’ people amongst Russian residents increased, i.e. respondents became more willing to attribute (mostly positive) characteristics to ‘one’s own’: ‘hospitable’, ‘cultural’, ‘peace-loving’, ‘hopeful’, ‘open’, ‘tolerant’, ‘energetic’.  This is partly, in our opinion, the consequence of the 2014-2016 social consolidation which solidified national awareness and thinking about ‘who we are’.  The frequency of qualities attributed to ‘Ukrainians’ remained the same, as did the distribution of characteristics regarding them in general

IN YOUR OPINION, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING QUALITIES MOST CHARACTERISES UKRAINIANS (RESIDENTS OF UKRAINE)? (Levada-Center Data; respondents were given a card with a list of qualities and could choose more than one response; the qualities were ordered alphabetically)

Aug.14 Sept.18
Irresponsible 8 11
Power-hungry 10 9
Hospitable 21 26
Ready to help 7 7
Cruel 15 11
Downtrodden, oppressed 6 6
Envious 23 22
Arrogant 20 14
Cultured, polite 4 6
Lazy 9 12
Hypocritical, sly 30 30
Peace-loving 10 14
Imposing their customs on others 8 10
Hopeful, truthful 6 7
Impractical 5 10
Open, simple 14 19
Respectful to the elderly 5 4
Rational 16 13
Religious 8 8
Dignified 12 9
Freedom-loving, independent 12 15
Secretive 24 23
Stingy 17 10
Patient 14 15
Hardworking 21 14
Egotistical 12 11
Energetic 16 15
Difficult to say 15 18

IN YOUR OPINION, WHICH OF THE LISTED QUALITIES MOST CHARACTERISES RUSSIANS (RESIDENTS OF RUSSIA)? (Levada-Center Data; respondents were given a card with a list of qualities and could choose more than one response; the qualities were ordered alphabetically)

Aug.14 Sept.18
Irresponsible 6 6
Power-hungry 3 3
Hospitable 48 65
Ready to help 47 43
Cruel 2 2
Downtrodden, oppressed 4 3
Envious 5 3
Arrogant 3 1
Cultured, polite 10 22
Lazy 18 14
Hypocritical, sly 5 4
Peace-loving 41 54
Imposing their customs on others 3 3
Hopeful, truthful 27 40
Impractical 13 7
Open, simple 44 58
Respectful to the elderly 5 12
Rational 6 9
Religious 9 13
Dignified 13 21
Freedom-loving, independent 17 23
Secretive 3 5
Stingy 2 1
Patient 44 50
Hardworking 25 29
Egotistical 4 3
Energetic 16 33
Difficult to say 7 2

Turning to the comparison of how Russian residents and Ukrainian residents perceive ‘their own’ and the ‘other’ ethnic group, we can make a number of observations: Firstly, there is a higher intensity among Russian residents regarding the image of ‘one’s own’ (‘Russians’) than regarding ‘others’ (‘Ukrainians’).  Secondly, the more expressive (positive) assessments of ‘one’s own’ [among Russians] differs from Ukrainians residents who named qualities with a lesser degree of intensity characterising, in their opinion, ‘Ukrainians’.  Thus, if the ratio of positive or negative qualities from Russia regarding ‘Russians’ is 9:1, amongst respondents from Ukraine regarding ‘Ukrainians’ it is 8:1.   At the same time, negative characteristics of ‘the neighbour’ are in general attributed (in total) three times more often than to ‘one’s own’ in both countries. 

 COMPARISON TABLE: QUALITIES (2018 DATA)

Levada Center Data KIIS Data
Russian residents on ‘Ukrainians’ Russian residents on ‘Russians’ Ukrainian residents on ‘Russians’ Ukrainian
residents
on ‘Ukrainians’
Irresponsible 11 6 8 2
Power-hungry 9 3 9 1
Hospitable 26 65 21 48
Ready to help 7 43 10 18
Cruel 11 2 8 1
Downtrodden, oppressed 6 3 7 7
Envious 22 3 10 6
Arrogant 14 1 9 2
Cultured, polite 6 22 8 10
Lazy 12 14 15 4
Hypocritical, sly 30 4 13 4
Peace-loving 14 54 10 33
Imposing their customs on others 10 3 14 1
Hopeful, truthful 7 40 9 21
Impractical 10 7 6 3
Open, simple 19 58 22 36
Respectful to the elderly 4 12 3 4
Rational 13 9 6 6
Religious 8 13 4 14
Dignified 9 21 8 13
Freedom-loving, independent 15 23 8 19
Secretive 23 5 10 3
Stingy 10 1 3 1
Patient 15 50 13 36
Hardworking 14 29 10 37
Egotistical 11 3 8 2
Energetic 15 33 11 19
Difficult to say 18 2 19 9

A question on ethnic belonging was absent from the Levada-Center’s questionnaire, but there was a question on the attitudes towards the idea of ‘Russia for Russians’ based on which respondents can be divided into three groups: Those who think that in Russia should live exclusively ‘Russians’, or that they should have a privileged position; those who think that Russia is a multi-ethnic country in which all should have equal rights; and those uninterested in the aforementioned ideas.  The respondents in favour of one type or another of ethnic discrimination in favour of the Russian majority, (total) often attributed negative characteristics to Ukrainians, and dominated on positive (self) perception.  On the contrary, respondents who thought that all in Russia should have equal rights regardless of ethnic belonging often attributed positive characteristics to Ukrainians, and predominated in negative [self] perception (Findings were similar among respondents neutral to this idea).

IN YOUR OPINION, WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING QUALITIES MOST CHARACTERISES UKRAINANS (OF RESIDENTS OF UKRAINE)? (Levada-Center Data)

General sample Respondents in favour of a privileged position for the Russian ethnic majority in Russia Respondents in favour of equal rights for all ethnic groups in Russia Respondents who are not interested in either idea
Irresponsible 11 14 10 10
Power-hungry 9 10 8 8
Hospitable 26 24 29 21
Ready to help 7 7 8 4
Cruel 11 12 11 11
Downtrodden, oppressed 6 5 7 3
Envious 22 26 21 15
Arrogant 14 15 15 10
Cultured, polite 6 6 6 8
Lazy 12 15 10 8
Hypocritical, sly 30 35 28 23
Peace-loving 14 12 15 16
Imposing their customs on others 10 10 10 4
Hopeful, truthful 7 6 7 9
Impractical 10 13 8 6
Open, simple 19 16 22 17
Respectful to the elderly 4 4 4 4
Rational 13 13 13 11
Religious 8 7 10 9
Dignified 9 6 11 9
Freedom-loving, independent 15 12 16 16
Secretive 23 28 21 16
Stingy 10 12 9 6
Patient 15 14 17 14
Hardworking 14 15 15 11
Egotistical 11 14 10 7
Energetic 15 13 17 18
Difficult to say 18 14 19 26

The ANO Levada Center has been forcibly included in the registry of non-commercial organizations acting as foreign agents. Read the Director of the Levada Center’s statement of disagreement with this decision here.