Due to various reasons, including rain, fighting on the front lost its intensity and offensive fervor.

In his “historic” Valdai speech in Moscow on Oct. 28, Putin continued to blackmail the world with nuclear weapons, scaring Ukraine, NATO and Europe with a “dirty” bomb.

Nevertheless, this analytical review will be devoted not to these events, but to the analysis of the results of the opinion poll carried out by The Razumkov Center in October 2022.

The significance of this survey is determined by the fact that its data provides insight into who we are, where we are going and what values we share. Its importance is also connected with the fact that it can be compared with previous national studies and surveys conducted in other European countries and in Russia.

In this article, we will try to provide a minimum of figures (you can find the full figures on the website of the Razumkov Center). Information Defence experts focused more on analyzing the significance of the results both for the country in general and for Ukrainians in particular.

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Who are we, and where are we now?

At the end of the 1980s, Ukraine was a typical Soviet country, a pillar of Communist ideology. There was a joke at the time that perestroika in the USSR stopped at the Mykhailivsky farm.

After Ukraine gained (not won!) its independence, the public consciousness of Ukrainians remained archaic, paternalistic, post-Soviet and post-Communist. Just like the mentality of most other peoples of the Soviet Union, including Russians.

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Today, Ukrainians and Russians are completely different nations in terms of their values. Having begun from the same starting point, Ukrainians have acquired democracy, Europeanness, and the dominance of the values of freedom, while the Russians have remained in the post-Soviet and post-imperial paradigm.

The first changes in the mentality of Ukrainians took place after the Orange Revolution in 2004, when we began to get rid of the shackles of the past and show more and more commitment to democratic values and the European civilizational choice.

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The civil consciousness of Ukrainians received new, powerful impetus for further qualitative, fundamental and systemic changes after the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 and actually completed its transformation after the beginning of the large-scale Russian-Ukrainian war.

The polls demonstrate that Ukrainians are a single democratic nation, they associate themselves with the European family of nations, and regional and other differences are increasingly leveling out and disappearing.

Democracy is the most desired state form

The war has, paradoxically, strengthened the commitment of Ukrainians to democratic values.

In the period between 2010 and 2021, the number of Ukrainians who considered democracy to be the most desirable type of government system was between 48-56%. Since Russia began its full-scale war it has risen, and opinion poll data shows it at 68% now.

Over the last decade, the number of Ukrainian citizens among those polled who believe that the democratic political system is “rather good” or “very good” for our country has changed to a seemingly insignificant extent – from 85% in 2011 to 90% in 2022. However, the number of those who consider the democratic political system to be “very good” have risen (54%, while previously their number did not exceed 36%).

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Ukraine is not threatened by the establishment of a military dictatorship both from the point of view of traditions or public demand for such a political regime.

Indeed, the large-scale war has led to an increase in the number of Ukrainians who regard the system to be “rather good” or “very good” when the military or a military regime rules (from 17.5% to 30%). However, the vast majority (69%) of Ukrainian citizens still consider such a system to be bad.

Our civilizational choice is Europe

Ukrainians have finally decided on their civilizational choice and confirmed that they belong to the European family of nations.

Choosing between two models of social development – European and Russian, 70% of respondents prefer the European model, and only 0.5% prefer the Russian model (in 2017, the figures were 58% and 4%, respectively).

Compared to 2020, the share of those who trust the European Union in Ukraine has increased significantly (from 43% to 76%). The level of trust in NATO has also risen in Ukraine (from 31.5% to 67%).

Differences are Gradually Disappearing

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Ukrainians are a single nation. Age, language and regional differences are gradually leveling off and disappearing. Moreover, although they still exist, they are no longer as drastically large as before.

For example, while in 2021, 69% of respondents answered that they did not seek the restoration of the Soviet Union, then according to the latest survey, 87% of those polled hold this opinion now.

The number of Ukrainians who would not like the restoration of the USSR in the South and East of the country (72% and 81%, respectively) is somewhat lower than in the West (93%) and the Center (89%), however, even in these regions it is higher than it was in the country in general in 2021 (!).

Even among the representatives of the oldest age group, those who would not like the restoration of the Soviet Union constitute the vast majority (74.5%). A record 95% of Ukrainians under the age of 30 have the same opinion. Among those who speak russian in their family, we have 79%; and among those who speak Ukrainian, 90%.

Party Favourites of Ukrainians

The political landscape of the country has fundamentally changed. Pro-Russian and Communist parties follow the Russian ship, downwards.

Pro-Russian parties have no chance of getting into Parliament by passing the 5% level which is required. Instead, the European integration of national-democratic parties, whose lists will include former soldiers and volunteers, will be the favourites in upcoming elections.

The support of Ukrainian citizens for the national democratic ideology has been growing since the start of the 2000s. In 2003, it was shared by 10% of Ukrainians. The same number of respondents (11%) supported the ideology of the reunification of Ukraine with Russia, while 10% shared the Communist ideology. Today, nationally democratic ideas are supported by 22% of Ukrainians, while Communist ideas are supported by 1%, and the ideology of the “Russian world” is supported by just 0.2% of Ukrainians.

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The support for those political parties that advocate the European integration of Ukraine increased from 34% to 52%, while the support of parties that advocate the restoration of relations with Russia and the integration of Ukraine into the Eurasian space, on the contrary, has fallen  from 12% to 2%.

There is public demand for political parties that will be created by the military and volunteers or which include them in their lists.

Among other things, at the same time 27% of respondents in Ukraine consider both military and democratic systems to be good; 89% of those who consider a military regime to be good, also consider a democratic system to be good.

According to Information Defence experts, these results do not contradict each other, but indicate that the military can be integrated directly into the governance of the country through parliamentary elections.

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 Ihor Zhdanov is a co-founder of the Open Policy Foundation, a Non-Government Organization (NGO) in Ukraine.

 The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s and not necessarily those of Kyiv Post.

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