14 May 2014 – 52% of Ukrainians support Ukraine’s pro-European direction and its integration with the European Union. The data was voiced by Andriy Bychenko, Sociological service Director at Razumkov Center at a briefing in the Ukraine Crisis Media Center. The expert presented results of an opinion poll demonstrating Ukrainians’ moods towards the state foreign policy direction and their vision of external influences affecting Ukraine.
Presenting the research results Andriy Bychenko mentioned that the changes are observed – not only the quantitative indicators have changed but the tendency itself demonstrating Ukrainians’ moods and public opinion on European integration and Ukraine’s membership in NATO. Absolute majority of respondents answering the question “Which foreign policy direction has to be Ukraine’s priority?” supported rapprochement with the European Union. 52,2% of Ukrainians think that priority direction should be relations with EU countries, 16,6% with Russia, 6,8% with other CIS countries, 1,1% with the US, 4,8% with other countries. “Ukrainians have been asked this question since 2000, dynamics is observed, until now absolute majority has never expressed itself in favor of a particular direction”, noted Andriy Bychenko.
Majority of Ukrainians are convinced that Ukraine needs to become a member of the European Union, not of the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. 52,5% of respondents spoke in favour of EU membership, 18% in favor of membership in the Customs Union. At the same time majority of citizens estimates Ukraine-Russia relations in a negative way: 47,7% consider them being hostile, 33.1% simply bad, 15% unstable, 0,5% good. According to the research results estimation of Ukraine’s policy towards Russia and Russia’s policy towards Ukraine are somewhat different: “Ukraine’s policy towards Russia is considered unfriendly by 35,5% of Ukrainians, open and neighbourly by 9,5%. At the same time over the half of Ukrainians (56%) qualify Russia’s policy towards Ukraine as unfriendly and only 2,5% consider it being open and neighbourly. “Moreover 56,4% of respondents – absolute majority, noted that there’s a war going between Ukraine and Russia, and it’s due to Russia’s fault”, explained the Sociological service Director at Razumkov Center.
73% of respondents mentioned Russia’s negative influence on the situation in Ukraine. Almost half of the respondents (48,6%) are convinced that the European Union influences the situation in Ukraine in a positive manner. “There’s a turning point behind these figures as to the tendency and the situation observed in Ukraine within the last 10 years. South and East were considered pro-Russian, West and Center – pro-European. It is not accurate anymore. Russia’s annexation of Crimea and Russia’s aggression caused changes in the moods of Ukrainians”, explained Andriy Bychenko.
Russian aggression has also influenced Ukrainians’ attitude towards NATO. We are now observing the tendency of supporters increase for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership – 36,7% of respondents supported such an idea against 41,6% despite half of the year ago percentage of Ukrainians who supported the membership was very low. At the same time actions of the Russian President, the State Duma and the Russian Government are condemned by 2/3 of Ukrainians.
Research on foreign policy orientation of Ukrainians was held from 25 to 29 April 2014 in all regions of Ukraine except for Crimea. 2012 respondents 18 years of age and older took part. The margin of error of the research constitutes 2,3%.