Sharp increase in Ukrainian support for joining NATO
A survey just published probably indicates that Russia’s aggression against Ukraine is having one effect that Russian president Vladimir Putin doubtless does not want. The number of people who would support Ukraine’s joining NATO has increased considerably and is continuing to rise.
The survey reported by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation [DFI] was carried out in cooperation with the Razumkov Centre from May 14-18 throughout Ukraine, with the exception of the Crimea. It was funded by the EU as part of the Civic Sociological Consortium project.
Support for NATO was higher in 2014 than during all years that such surveys have been carried out. In May 34% supported joining NATO; 48% were against; and 17% were undecided. At the beginning of June, according to a study carried out by the Razumkov Centre, 41% said that they would vote for joining NATO in a hypothetical referendum, with only 40% being against.
There is a significant reduction in the percentage of opponents of the idea of joining NATO which in August 2012 stood at 65.5%
A majority (56%) are not in favour of Ukraine joining the Tashkent Agreement on collective security of countries of the CIS. Only 16% were in favour, with 28% undecided.
With respect to NATO, there was a fairly clear geographical divide, with an absolute majority who would be in favour of joining it seen only in the West of Ukraine (69%. In the centre, there was a roughly equal number of supporters and opponents (39% for; 40% against). A majority in the South (68.5%); the East (62%) and specifically Donbas (83%) would be against joining NATO. The greatest number of supporters was among people aged from 30-39 and 40-49 [38% for both groups].
The report does not assess how much the fact that the Crimea is not included has affected the percentages, since opposition to NATO has already been much stronger on the peninsula.
With respect to the best option for safeguarding Ukraine’s security: 33% named joining NATO (against 13% in 2012); 28% (against 42%) retaining non-affiliated status; and 13% (against 26%) thought the best to be a military union with Russia and other CIS countries. 24% did not have any clear idea what could guarantee Ukraine’s security.