New Identity: 5 facts about Ukrainians

Author : Eugene Sereda

Source : 112 Ukraine

Polls show new tendencies concerning cultural relations, understanding of national and inter-regional relations, and attitude of the Ukrainians to different nations
13:32, 23 June 2016

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Ukraine’s think tank Razumkov Centre has conducted a survey "Identity of Ukraine’s citizens under the new conditions: main trends and regional differences." The poll has covered a range of national and cultural issues. 

1. Cultural Relations

Ukrainian respondents highly assess cultural closeness of Ukrainians and Russians living in Ukraine. The distance between the Ukrainian and Russian citizens seems to be more visible, and the distance between citizens of Ukraine and citizens of EU member states is even bigger.

In terms of cultural proximity of different Ukrainian regions, respondents rated the highest proximity between central and eastern Ukraine, west and center of the country, Galychyna and the Centre.

The distance between the Ukrainians and residents of the occupied areas of Donbas and Crimea is estimated at an average level. The greatest distance is between the inhabitants of Western and Eastern Ukraine and among the inhabitants of Galychyna and Donbas.

Thus, the respondents believe that the differences between the cultures of some regions of Ukraine are more serious than with the cultures of other countries.

Compared with 2005, a sense of distinctiveness (self-identity) of Ukrainian citizens from Russians has increased. At the same time, estimates of closeness between the residents of Halychyna (Western part of Ukraine, ed.) and Donbas have fallen.

Related: Over half of Ukrainians support EU integration - poll

Obviously, stereotypes and myths of the past and low level of communication have a significant impact on a mutual perception of residents of different parts of Ukraine.

2. Understanding the nation

The majority (56%) of respondents support the civil definition of Ukrainian nation as a community of citizens of Ukraine regardless of their ethnic origin, language, communication, and traditions.

19% supported the definition of Ukrainian nation as ethnically conditioned one (Ukrainian blood of the ancestors).

17% of respondents supported "cultural" definition of nation, which is primarily to the Ukrainian language, adherence to national traditions and upbringing of the children.

Ethnic definition is at the second place in the eastern regions (quarter), while in the western, the cultural understanding of the nation prevails (almost a third). It is reported that during the last 10 years, the approaches based on ethnic conditionality decline.

Related: Deputy Minister for Occupied Territories: 800,000 people is actual number of IDPs in Ukraine

3. The regional differences

Slightly more than half of citizens believe that there are no such contradictions between western and eastern regions of Ukraine that could lead to the separation and formation of other countries or become parts of different states.

The presence of such differences is recognized by 28% of respondents. More than half of respondents in the West, Centre, and East, as well as the relative majority of Donbas believe that these differences do not exist. In the South, those who answered "yes" and "no" split almost evenly - 34% and 35% respectively.

Related: Research: Ukraine among leading countries on the number of IDPs

Compared with 2007, we are witnessing the growth of shares of citizens who agree with the possibility of separation of Ukraine's regions, and with the thesis that western and eastern Ukrainians are two different nations. It occurs due to the influence of Russian propaganda. Social and cultural identities of citizens in different regions also influence this public opinion.

4. Attitude to representatives of different nations

Slightly more than half of respondents do not care about the nationality of their neighbors. Among those who have made a choice concerning their neighbors, nearly one third chose Ukrainian nationality, Poles – 20%, Russians – 14%, Hungarians - 11%, Jews - 10%, Romanians - 9%, Tatars - 8%.

In the West and in the Center, Ukrainians and Poles are more desirable neighbors, in the South and the East - Ukrainians, Russians, and Poles, in Donbas - Russians and Ukrainians.

A relative majority of respondents would not like to live near the Romani (32%). Some 13% of Ukrainians would not like to live with the Russians, with Jews - 12%, with Tatars - 10%, with Romanians - 8%, with Hungarians - 5%, with Poles - 3%.

Compared to 2005, tolerance regarding the perception of other nationalities has increased. The highest level of antipathy remains to Romani people. At the same time, antipathy to Russians has significantly increased. Respondents from the West demonstrate more evaluative attitude to citizens of other nationalities.

5. Attitude to the citizens of the occupied territories

Most of people tend to follow the principle "that is not their fault" about people who have moved from the ATO area in other regions of Ukraine, or wanted to move to other regions of Ukraine, but had no opportunity, or have not moved from the ATO area, but do not support the Russian-backed militants.

Related: 21.5 thousand of IDPs moved from occupied Crimea to the mainland

Respectively, 16%, 20%, and 23% of the respondent follow principle "understand and forgive." An absolute minority follows the principle of "do not forget, not forgive."

Treatment of citizens who moved from Donbas to Russia is worse. 46% of respondents believe that "they must not be blamed," 23% are ready "to understand and forgive," but 14% "will not forget and will not forgive."

The treatment of citizens, who support the self-proclaimed "republics" or participate in their armed formations, is significantly worse. A relative majority of citizens support the approach "do not forget, not forgive" on citizens who have not moved from the ATO zone and support the militants who fought against Ukraine.

Most of the respondents are not willing to "forget and forgive" those who fought on their own initiative against Ukraine.

Thus, most residents of all regions do not show negative attitude to the citizens of Ukraine who moved from the ATO zone to other regions of Ukraine, or those who did not have such a possibility, or did not leave and did not support the militants.

Respondents of all regions have worse attitude towards Ukrainian citizens who moved to Russia from the ATO area. Attitude to the people involved in the tortures, is extremely negative within the majority of respondents in all regions. Donbas is an exception where the negative opinion is balanced by understanding or uncertainty.

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