A striking 41% of Ukrainian respondents to a poll agreed with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent claim that “Russians and Ukrainians are one nation and belong to the same historical and spiritual space,” according to the latest Rating Group poll published on July 27. 

The majority of respondents, or 55%, disagreed with the statement.  

Blending two disparate ideas into one question, that Russians and Ukrainians are one nation, and that they have a shared history, may explain why so many respondents agreed with the statement.

According to Oleksiy Haran, professor at the Kyiv Mohyla Academy, it’s not as simple as concluding Ukrainians “agree with Putin.” The result was likely influenced by the way the question was phrased, merging the “one nation” and “shared history” claims, Haran says.


As part of Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine, Putin published an article on July 12, telling his readers an alternate history of Ukraine, from the times of the Kyivan Rus, the federation of Slavic states, to the contemporary Ukrainian government, which he accuses of being “radical” and “anti-Russian.” 

For centuries Russia has promoted the myth that the Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians are one nation, with Moscow at its heart. The theory has been used to entrench Russian imperialism and undermine the Ukrainian and Belarusian national identities.  

“The way the (Rating Group) question is phrased is simply manipulative,” Haran told the Kyiv Post. “In the original article, Putin mentions the two components of the question separately – first, he claims that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, then later he brings up the notion of Ukraine and Russia being part of a united historical and spiritual space.” 

“While the ‘one people’ claim is utter nonsense, it’s different in the case of ‘Ukraine and Russia share the same history’ because they do,” he added.

He said that if the question explicitly focused on the “one people” claim, the percentage of respondents disagreeing with the statement would be significantly higher, in his opinion.


An article titled “On the historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians” written by Putin appeared on the Kremlin’s website. The article, published in Ukrainian and Russian, outlined the alleged closeness of Ukrainians and Russians, denied Ukrainians of statehood and justified Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.

President Volodymyr Zelensky responded to the article, saying that Russia is not acting in the spirit of brotherhood the existence of which it keeps insisting upon.

Alexey Venediktov, editor-in-chief of the Russian Echo of Moscow radio station, called Putin’s article “the essence of Russian imperialism.”

Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, occupying Crimea and the eastern part of Donbas. Over 13,000 people have been killed due to Russia’s ongoing intervention. 

To suggest a correction or clarification, write to us here
You can also highlight the text and press Ctrl + Enter

Comments (0)

Write the first comment for this!