Monday, May 5, 2014

What Southeast Ukraine Wants

With the leaders of Europe, Canada and the United States doing their very best to meddle in Ukraine, one has to wonder what Ukrainians really want.  A recent poll taken by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KiiS) sheds some light on what Ukrainians who live in the southeastern part of the nation really think about their nation, where it is heading and who is the legitimate leader of the nation.  Please note that the original webpage is in Russian and I have used Google Translate to translate the page into English.

Here is a political map of Ukraine showing the nation's oblasts or administrative units:

The poll by KiiS was taken in mid-April in the southeastern oblasts of Ukraine (Dnipropetrovsk, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Luhansk, Nikolaev, Odessa, Kharkiv and Kherson) and clearly reveals the views and opinions of the population that live in that part of Ukraine regarding the events that have occurred in their nation.  It is this part of the nation (in pink and red) that tends to be more Russian  or a mixture of both as shown on this map:

Here are the responses noting that I am only recording the "definitely yes" or "sure" and the "definitely no" or "sure...not" responses and that the first percentage given is for the southeast as a whole and that the range provided is for the eight states:

1.) Do you consider legal or illegal the central government in Ukraine under Acting President Oleksandr Turchynov? (Mr. Turchynov is the Aciting President of Ukraine and was designated as President when Viktor Yanukovych was impeached).

Yes it is legitimate: 16.6% with a range of 6.4 to 33.0%
No it is not legitimate: 32.1% with a range of 13.1 to 53%

2.) Do you consider legal or illegal the central government of Ukraine headed by Arseniy Yatsenyuk? (Mr. Yatsenyuk is the 15th Prime Minister of Ukraine and is ethnic Ukrainian)

Yes it is legitimate: 17.0% with a range of 5.7 to 34.7%
No it is not legitimate: 32% with a range of 11.1 to 53.5%

3.) Do you consider the Verkhovna Rada (Ukraine's Supreme Council) to be legal or illegal?

Yes it is legitimate: 20.7% with a range of 10.9 to 27.2%
No it is not legitimate: 23.3% with a range of 6.7 to 33.5%

4.) Do you think that Viktor Yanukovych (the deposed President) is the legal President of Ukraine?

Yes: 10% with a range of 3.2 to 18.8%
No: 51.7% with a range of 34.4 to 68.1%

5.) In your opinion, who do you think is responsible for the casualties on the Maidan (the central square in Kiev where many protestors were killed during the month of February)?  Please note that I am only recording the opinion voiced by the southeastern states as a whole.

Viktor Yanukovych: 45.1%
Party of Regions: 17.2%
Law Enforcement Agencies: 8.2%
Protesters: 10.3%
Opposition Leaders: 37.5%
Occident (the Western world): 18.4%
Russia: 4.8%

In the case of Russia, the responses by state were all quite low, ranging from 1.0 percent to 6.9 percent whereas, the Occident (Western nations) was blamed by between 11.1 and 28.5 percent of respondents.

6.) Do you think that a civil war is possible in Ukraine?

Yes: 16.4% with a range of 11.6 to 20.3%
No: 12.5% with a range of 9.2 to 16.5%

In this case, the "definitely yes" and "rather yes" total 46% compared to only 32.7% who said "certainly not" or "rather no".

7.) Do you support or oppose the introduction of Russian troops in Ukraine?

Support: 5.6% with a range of 0.7 to 9.9%
Do not support: 58.4% with a range of 36 to 78.7%

In this case, the "definitely yes" and "rather yes" total 46% compared to only 32.7% who said "certainly not" or "rather no".

While the poll covers only a small and predominantly Russian part of Ukraine, I found the responses rather interesting, noting that far more respondents in this part of Ukraine are putting the blame for the casualties during the February uprising on Western nations rather than Russia by a four-to-one margin.  As well, it is interesting to note that up to 20 percent of respondents in Dnipropetrovsk think that the current situation could lead to civil war in Ukraine.  It is also interesting to see that a substantial majority of respondents oppose the introduction of Russian troops into Ukraine and that nearly three-quarters of respondents would like to see Russia and Ukraine remain independent but friendly neighbours.


  1. C. J. CHIVERS and NOAH SNEIDER have piece in the NY Times that shows at least in the case of the militia they had met with there where no Russia's among them. CJ Chivers is well know for documenting weapons although the peice only brushes against topic in one sentence it shows that the militia's weapons stock numbers were from the 80-90s so clearly not even Russian supplied weapons. I think the US should be careful about sanctioning Russia for things Russia may not have all that much to do with.

  2. The Russian tactic has been to organize local fighters where possible and then leave them to take the heat. The NYT article did not ask enough questions such as how are they coordinated with other fighting groups and how they hope to accomplish anything unless united with other groups. WaPo raises the issue of warlords which Putin has used before.
    If one considers that Putin's main goal is to destabilize the country and prevent a presidential election then scattered groups of independent fighters raising hell is all he needs.