15:19 01.11.2023

Results of survey of Ukrainians' attitudes by Active Group and Future Research Foundation

10 min read

Ukrainians believe in the victory over Russia and believe that during the war, despite all the known problems, there is something to be proud of and someone to praise. These are the general conclusions based on the results of a sociological survey conducted by Active Group with the support of the Future Research Foundation - "Achievements and Problems in Ukraine as Seen by Ukrainians" - presented at a press conference at Interfax-Ukraine on Wednesday.

According to Andriy Yeremenko, founder of the Active Group research company, the survey showed that a stable social consensus is being formed among Ukrainians on what constitutes a VICTORY for Ukraine.

"For 56% of Ukrainians surveyed, the victory is the return to the 1991 borders and the international tribunal over Russia and compensation for the losses suffered by Ukraine. 22.8% consider the complete destruction of the Russian Federation as a state to be a victory. 9.5% would be satisfied with only returning to the 1991 borders, and 4% would recognize as a victory the return to the demarcation line as of February 24, 2022. Thus, the majority of respondents consider the complete defeat of Russia to be a victory for Ukraine," he said.

There is a similar consensus on what to do with pro-Russian "agents of influence." For example, with regard to pro-Russian members of the Verkhovna Rada, respondents suggested banning them from running for office (19.2%), banning them from holding public office (17.1%), confiscating their property (11.4%), and depriving them of citizenship (10.3%). Another 16.4% of respondents would like to see an open trial of pro-Russian MPs, and 12.6% would personally hand these MPs draft notices to the front.

In addition, 72.1% of respondents generally support the ban on the Moscow church (UOC-MP) (59% - fully support, another 13.2% - "rather yes"). In fact, we have almost a "constitutional majority" among the polled citizens who support the ban of the ROC branch in Ukraine. It is worth noting that compared to November 2022, the number of those who did not have a position on the "ban" of the Moscow Patriarchate has also decreased: in November 2022, 25.6% of respondents found it difficult to answer, and in November 2023, 15.6% of them did not. Obviously, the redistribution went in favor of a positive decision.

Ukrainians are also more or less unambiguous in their assessment of the role of the Medvedchuk pool TV channels in the preparation of Russian aggression against Ukraine. The respondents were asked to assess the role played by Viktor Medvedchuk's channels in the preparation for full-scale aggression on a five-point scale (1 point is the minimum, 5 is the maximum). 39.5% of respondents gave the highest score, 19.4% gave a "B", and 17.3% gave a "C". In fact, half of the respondents believe that Medvedchuk's media outlets contributed to the preparation of the war. And, apparently, they should be held responsible for this.

A different situation is observed in the area of defining "victories" (achievements of the country) during the war. Ukrainians see "victories" in the following: organization of Ukraine's defense (49.4%); attraction of international military support (44%); unification of society in support of the country's defenders (40.8%); attraction of international economic support (40.1%); attraction of international political support (33.3%). Within the country, in particular in the economy, there are fewer "victories": 8.3% named "support for the economy"; 7.8% - development of the defense industry; 6% - restoration of infrastructure; and only 3.6% - providing support to socially vulnerable groups.

The assessment of the problems is corresponding: 39.5% of respondents see the biggest problems in supporting Ukraine's economy, 35.7% in the development of the defense industry, 25.5% in the organization of defense itself, and 24.5% in the restoration of infrastructure.

Ukrainians assess the importance of the problems facing Ukraine almost equally. 81.3% of respondents named the war with Russia. Also, 80% consider corruption to be a problem. These problems are almost equal in weight. Unemployment (31.9%) and non-return of refugees (26.2%) are far behind. 21.8% of respondents named pressure on business, and 17.7% - lack of social support.

Ukrainians are actually grateful to two people. When asked "Who has done the most to achieve these successes?" 67.4% of respondents named President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and 67.3% named Armed Forces Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyy. Volunteers, in particular Prytula and Chmut, were thanked by 21.7%. Interestingly, the role of Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba was highly appreciated by 17.6%, and that of Digital Minister Mykhailo Fedorov by 8.2%. However, only 4.7% of respondents "noticed" Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and 0.9% mentioned Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Ruslan Stefanchuk. At the same time, the head of the President's Office, Andriy Yermak, was mentioned by 6.7% of respondents (despite the demonization of his person).

The situation is different when Ukrainians identify those responsible for causing problems. 59.9% of respondents consider Volodymyr Zelenskyy responsible for our problems. 36.4% - Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, 35.1% - Andriy Yermak, 21% - Ruslan Stefanchuk, 18.9% - Danylo Hetmantsev. However, only 3.6% blame Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, and 7% blame Dmytro Kuleba. 30% of respondents cannot identify the person responsible for the problems. Thus, the balance of responsibility is in favor of the Chief of the Armed Forces (63.7%), volunteers (19.7%), and the Foreign Minister (10.6%).

If we consider responsibility for the state of affairs in the country in terms of institutions, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine is the leader in terms of "guilt." 66.2% of respondents believe that the parliament is most responsible for the problems in the country. 46.4% believe the Cabinet of Ministers is responsible, and 42.2% - the President of Ukraine.

Regarding the desired dismissal of an official in the form of political responsibility for the country's problems, respondents most want the resignation of the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Andriy Yermak - 30.6% of respondents, the Head of the "Tax" Committee of the Verkhovna Rada Danylo Hetmantsev - 20.3%, the Prime Minister of Ukraine Denys Shmyhal - 18.0%; Deputy Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine Oleh Tatarov - 16.7%. Instead, only 11.4% of respondents demand the resignation of President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, almost as many as the Speaker of the Parliament Ruslan Stefanchuk (11.5%). Only 1.6% would welcome the resignation of Armed Forces Chief Valeriy Zaluzhnyi, while respondents least of all want to see the Minister of Digital Transformation Mykhailo Fedorov removed from office - 1.3%.

Ukrainians generally have an idea of the desired direction of change in the country. 72% of respondents believe that corruption should be reduced. 56.7% call strengthening defense capabilities a priority. 34.2% point to the need to restore housing that was destroyed during the Russian invasion. 25.3% would like to restore the infrastructure of cities and villages; 20% say they would like to create new jobs; 15.6% of respondents say it is important to facilitate the return of refugees from abroad; 12.3% consider it desirable to strengthen social support for the population.

The respondents also have established options: what to do with the state apparatus and institutions responsible for "betrayals" and problems. It is proposed to reform the authorities that do not solve but create new problems - 46.5%, to reduce their staff - 40.4%, to dissolve and re-elect (representative bodies) - 36.4%, to reduce their powers - 18.3%, to change the head - 18.3% or to dismiss the head altogether - 17%.

"We see a tendency to continue supporting the central government in matters of defense organization and international relations. At the same time, the most "problematic" issues are those related to the economy. These include "supporting the economy," "restoring infrastructure," and "developing the domestic defense industry." This is also confirmed by the list of names considered responsible and wanting to be dismissed. After Yermak, who has been demonized in the information field, the head of the Tax Committee of the Verkhovna Rada is Danylo Hetmantsev," emphasized Andriy Yeremenko, founder of the research company Active Group.

It is also worth noting that the fact that a certain person is considered responsible does not mean that they should be dismissed. For example, although the President and the Prime Minister are the main responsible for the problems, only 11% and 18% want them to be removed. So criticism does not mean a desire to change the person."  

According to Vitaliy Kulyk, director of the Center for Civil Society Research, the results of the survey show that there is a consensus in the country that Ukraine's victory in the war with Russia is Moscow's final defeat.

"I am pleased that our compatriots understand that simply returning to the 1991 borders or "freezing" the war at the level of the borders until February 24, 2022 does not remove the existential threat to Ukrainians and cannot be considered a victory in this war. It is very good that for 22.8% of citizens, the collapse of the Russian Empire is exactly this desired image of victory. I would call this percentage an inoculation against any manifestation of Russian imperialism," he added.

Another important consensus is to determine the degree of protection from Russian agents of influence: 72.1% in favor of banning the Moscow church and full and unconditional lustration of pro-Russian political figures.

"What is surprising is the respondents' assessment of merit in 'victories' and responsibility for 'problems'. Citizens tend to ask about problems from the parliament and the Cabinet of Ministers. Under the current conditions, they are the ones who channel the dissatisfaction of citizens," says Kulyk.

"In the southern regions, according to the results of the study, the realization of the cause-and-effect relationship regarding the true motives of Russia's attack on Ukraine is rather slow. Gradually, the picture is changing, but there is still a significant number of citizens who have not realized that their support in the 2019-2020 parliamentary and local elections for parties that were openly and secretly associated with Russian curators led to a phenomenon of mass collaboration and betrayal among the leaders and politicians of these regions as soon as the enemy crossed the border. It is clear that conservative sentiments and established stereotypes do not change overnight. The southern regions have traditionally supported pro-Russian political parties in the past (the Party of Regions, the Opposition Bloc, OPFL, Bloc Saldo in Kherson, etc.). Therefore, the share of pro-Russian residents there is significantly higher than in other regions," said political expert Svitlana Kushnir.

The study was conducted using a combined method: using the online panel "SunFlower Sociology" and a telephone survey (CATI). Data collection period: October 16-25, 2023 General population: citizens of Ukraine aged 18 and older. The sample is representative in terms of age, gender, and region of Ukraine. Number of respondents to the questionnaires: 2000 (1000 for each method). The results of each method did not have statistically significant differences. The presentation summarizes the results. The theoretical statistical error of representativeness (at 95% confidence level): 50% response rate - +/-2.2%; 25% and 75% response rate - +/-1.9%; 10% and 90% response rate - +/-1.4%. The full version is available here.