Press-releases

Russia–Ukraine relations

This survey was conducted August 20–26, 2020, among a representative sample of all Russian urban and rural residents. The sample was comprised of 1601 people aged 18 or older in 137 municipalities of 50 regions of the Russian Federation. The survey was conducted as a personal interview in respondents’ homes. The answer distribution is presented as percentages of the total number of participants along with data from previous surveys.

The statistical error of these studies for a sample of 1600 people (with a probability of 0.95) does not exceed:

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

The results of public opinion research demonstrating Ukrainian residents’ attitudes towards Russia are from the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS).

Surveys are usually carried out in the same month, but sometimes there is a 1–2 month difference between the fieldwork done in both countries. The Levada Center presented its questions in August 2020 (for comparability of charts, we marked them as September), while KIIS surveyed in September 2020 (2000 people were surveyed September 12–16, 2020).

This time, the difference in survey methods should be taken into account and demands further study: the Levada Center conducted surveys as personal interviews (face-to-face), while KIIS used computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI).

Survey results indicate an improvement in Russians’ attitudes towards Ukraine in August 2020, as compared with the previous sample in January 2020. However, the total growth by 6 percentage points does not currently allow us to make conclusions about a radical change in Russian public opinion or the sustainability of the growth of positive values (this requires additional data points). Nonetheless, data from other indicators, demonstrate an overall decrease of Russians’ negative perceptions of their primary “foreign political opponents”: the U.S., Ukraine, and Great Britain, which may indicate a waning interest in such a confrontational agenda among the population and a strong change in the event context capturing the attention of residents of the Russian federation (the Coronavirus pandemic).

 Ukrainian residents’ attitudes toward Russia from February to September 2020 worsened somewhat, but there is still a strong regional differentiation: positive attitudes are prevalent in Southern and Eastern Ukraine, and, conversely, negative attitudes are predominant among residents of Western and Central Ukraine (see KIIS press release for further details).

Half of Russian residents (51%) and half of Ukrainian residents (51%) believe that both states should be independent, but friendly (without visas or customs), and this number has not changed significantly in both countries in the last two years.

Previous joint studies by the Levada Center and KIIS:

Historical Memory
The Perception of Stalin
Russia-Ukraine Relations

IN GENERAL, WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ATTITUDE TOWARD UKRAINE? (opinions of Russian residents — data from the Levada Center)

Very positive Generally positive Generally negative Very negative It is difficult to say
Aug 20 11 37 26 17 8
Jan 20 6 36 27 20 11
Sep 19 9 47 19 12 13
Feb 19 4 30 30 25 10
Nov 18 3 25 31 29 11
Sep 18 3 30 32 23 12
July 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
Sep 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
Sep 16 2 24 38 18 17
July 16 2 29 36 22 11
June 16 4 37 33 11 16
May 27–30, 2016 4 35 37 10 13
May 22–25, 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
Sep 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
Sep 14 3 29 39 16 13
May 14 5 30 33 16 17
Mar 14 6 46 28 9 11
Sep 13 7 62 20 3 8
Mar 13 8 61 19 3 9
Sep 12 8 66 14 3 10

IN GENERAL, WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT ATTITUDE TOWARD RUSSIA? (opinions of Ukrainian residents — data from KIIS)

Very positive Generally positive Generally negative Very negative It is difficult to say
Sep 20 8 34 21 21 16
Feb 20 14 41 18 15 13
Dec 19 14 35 20 19 12
Sep 19 16 38 19 16 12
Feb 19 15 42 15 12 17
Sep 18 10 38 19 13 19
Feb 18 6 39 24 14 18
Dec 17 6 36 24 16 19
Sep 17 7 30 24 22 17
May 17 5 38 22 15 19
Feb 17 8 32 25 21 15
Sep 16 7 33 26 20 15
May 16 9 33 29 14 15
Feb 16 9 27 28 19 16
Sep 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
Sep 14 14 34 23 19 11
Apr 14 17 35 19 19 10
Feb 14 27 51 11 2 9
Sep 13 34 54 7 2 4
Feb 13 32 53 6 1 6
Sep 12 34 49 8 3 6

WHICH OF THE FOLLOWING OPINIONS CONCERNING RUSSIA’S RELATIONSHIP WITH UKRAINE DO YOU AGREE WITH MOST? (opinions of Russian residents — data from the Levada Center)

Russia’s relationship with Ukraine should be the same as with other countries; they should have closed borders, visas, and customs Russia and Ukraine should be independent yet friendly nations; they should have open borders and not have visas or customs Russia and Ukraine must unite into one state It is difficult to say
Aug 20 30 51 16 3
Jan 20 26 56 15 3
Sep 19 23 54 19 4
Feb 19 25 52 17 6
Sep 18 32 45 16 6
Mar 18 39 45 10 5
Dec 17 33 49 10 8
Sep 17 34 49 11 6
May 17 35 50 9 5
Jan 17 33 53 9 5
Sep 16 39 48 8 6
May 16 36 53 7 4
Jan 16 32 52 11 5
Sep 15 25 59 8 7
May 15 30 54 10 6
Jan 15 33 52 8 8
Sep 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
Sep 12 14 60 20 6
May 12 17 62 14 7
Jan 12 16 61 16 8
Sep 11 16 63 14 6
May 11 16 64 15 5
Jan 11 20 61 13 6
Sep 10 16 60 18 6
May 10 17 64 13 6
Jan 10 25 55 14 6
Sep 09 25 55 13 7
May 09 25 55 14 6
Jan 09 29 51 12 8
Sep 08 24 52 13 11
Mar 08 19 56 19 6

WHAT KIND OF RELATIONSHIP WOULD YOU LIKE UKRAINE TO HAVE WITH RUSSIA? (opinions of Ukrainian residents — data from KIIS)

Russia’s relationship with Ukraine should be the same as with other countries; they should have closed borders, visas, and customs Russia and Ukraine should be independent yet friendly nations; they should have open borders and not have visas or customs Russia and Ukraine must unite into one state It is difficult to say
Sep 20 39 51 5 5
Feb 20 39 51 3 7
Dec 19 40 48 5 7
Sep 19 41 49 3 7
Feb 19 39 48 4 9
Sep 18 39 50 4 8
Feb 18 44 44 3 9
Dec 17 45 40 4 11
Sep 17 49 40 4 8
May 17 43 47 4 6
Feb 17 47 43 2 7
Sep 16 49 43 3 6
May 16 44 44 3 9
Feb 16 43 43 4 11
Sep 15 46 45 2 7
May 15 45 46 2 7
Feb 15 48 43 4 6
Dec 14 50 42 3 5
Sep 14 45 44 5 6
Apr 14 32 54 8 5
Feb 14 15 68 12 5
Nov 13 12 73 9 6
May 13 11 69 14 5
Feb 13 13 68 16 3
Sep 12 11 72 14 3
Feb 12 13 69 16 2
Nov 11 13 67 16 2
Oct 10 10 67 20 2
June 10 12 70 16 2
Mar 10 11 67 19 3
Jan 10 8 66 22 4
Oct 09 11 67 19 3
May 09 10 65 23 2
Feb 09 8 68 23 1
Sep 08 17 66 16 2
Apr 08 10 67 20 3

Translated by Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey (formerly Monterey Institute of International Studies).

The ANO Levada Center has been 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.