After a sharp decline in 2011 in the number of Ukrainians who have a positive attitude towards Russia (from 90-93% to 80%), their number increased again in February 2012, to 86%, according to a joint project of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) and the Levada Center (Russia).
According to the results of the study, the number of Ukrainians who have a negative attitude towards Russia has decreased, from 13% in November 2011 to 9% in February 2012. Some 6% of respondents were undecided.
"As before, most Ukrainians who have a positive attitude towards Russia live in the southern (94%) and eastern (92%) regions, and their smallest number is in western regions (65%). In the central regions, 89% have a positive attitude towards Russia. Compared with 2011, the number of those positively disposed to Russia has significantly increased in western (from 55% to 65%), southern (from 89% to 95%) and central (from 78% to 89%) regions. The number of residents of eastern regions who are positively disposed to Russia has dropped (from 96% to 92%)," reads a statement released by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on Friday.
At the same time, the number of Russians who have a positive attitude towards Ukraine decreased from 68% in September 2011 to 64% in January 2012. The number of those negatively disposed to Ukraine remained virtually unchanged, at 25%.
The press release includes a comment by Levada Center Director Alexei Grazhdankin.
"The gas scandals have again slightly spoiled the image of Ukraine in the eyes of Russians. Ukraine's image is the most positive among young people (under the age of 24) and the least well-off groups of people in Russia. The number of the supporters of a union with Ukraine into a single state is the same as in your survey (from the Ukrainian side), and the number of the supporters of isolation is a little larger, but the dominant orientation in both countries (towards 'good-neighborly relations between independent states') remains unchanged," he said.
In general, as before, the attitude of Ukrainians towards Russia is much better than the attitude of Russians towards Ukraine, according to the press release.
In addition, the study indicates that in Ukraine, as well as in Russia, the situation remains stable, and statistically significant changes in the tastes of Ukrainians and Russians have not been reported.
Most respondents in Ukraine and Russia would like to see both countries as independent and friendly countries, with open borders, without visas and customs formalities (69% in Ukraine and 61% in Russia).