More and more Ukrainians want closed border with Russia
Mariupol residents helping Ukrainian soldiers build trenches after Russian soldiers took Ilovaisk, around 20 kilometres away
If in May only 32% of Ukrainians wanted to see the Russia-Ukraine border closed, that percentage has now increased to 45%. There was little change in Russia (from 28% in May to 26% in September).
Surveys were carried out in Ukraine by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology [KMIS] together with the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, and in Russia by the Levada Centre.
One important factor is that due to the fighting as well as transport problems, it was impossible to carry out the survey in the Luhansk oblast. Those interviews which were taken were in the Donetsk oblast where the population was, according to various political, electoral factors, seen as the least different from that in the Luhansk oblast.
The survey was carried out both in areas under the control of Ukraine, and in those controlled by the Kremlin-backed militants of the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk people’s republics.
The number of people wanting union of the two countries fell in both Ukraine and Russia, and was not high to begin with. In Ukraine it fell from 8% in May to 5% in September; in Russia from 12% to 7%. With respect to Ukraine the greatest support was still in the East, however it had halved from 26% to 13%, while in the South only 5% expressed support for this. There were no takers in the West (0%) and only 2% in the Centre.
General attitude of Russians to Ukraine and vice versa has deteriorated over the last three months. Interestingly, however, Ukrainians’ attitude to Russia remains more positive than Russians’ to Ukraine (Ukrainians attitude to Russia was positive in 52% of the cases in May; this fell to 48% in September. The number of people who were negative about Russia rose from 38% in May to 41% in September.
This deterioration was not seen in the eastern regions where there were 77% in May, and 83% in September.
This, however, contrasted with the fall everywhere else including the South – from 65% to 59%.
In Russia the number of people with a positive attitude to Ukraine fell from 35% in May to 32% in September. There was a significant rise in those with a negative attitude: from 49% to 55%.