According to research of Sociological Group "Rating", 50% of Ukrainians support the accession of Ukraine to the European Union, 37% do not support, and 13% are on the fence.
Meanwhile, 42% of respondents support the creation of single state composed of Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus, 47% do not support, and 11% are on the fence.
The interesting point is that one in four Ukrainians supports the creation of single state with Russia, while simultaneously supporting the accession of Ukraine to the EU.
Given such answers, the respondents were asked a direct question. So, according to respondents, signing the Agreement on Association and Free Trade with the EU is more favorable to Ukraine (41%) than accession to Customs Union with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan (38%). 20% of respondents were on the fence.
Compared to 2010-2012, we can see the increasing support – both for the first and for the second option. People make their choice: for the last two years, number of "uncertainty" of this issue was reduced from 27 to 20%.
Traditionally, West, North, and Center of Ukraine are more into agreement with the EU; Donbass, South, and East – into accession to Customs Union. At that, East and Center tend to be "transitional", while showing no significant advantage of one integration vector over another. Also, they host the maximum number of people simultaneously supporting both integration vectors.
Young and highly educated people are traditionally supportive of signing the Agreement on Association and Free Trade with the EU; older people are more into Customs Union.
Advantages and disadvantages of integration processes
According to respondents, convergence with the EU will result into the following benefits for Ukraine: better travel opportunities (55%), better employment opportunities (53%), more investments in Ukraine (51%), growth of democracy (41%), better educational opportunities (41%), poverty reduction (39%), and less corruption (39%).
In turn, convergence with Russia will result into the following benefits for Ukraine: reduction of gas prices (55%), convergence of people (53%), support of local industry (51%), and support of local agriculture (41%).
Same number of respondents (both 21%) believes that convergence with both the EU and Russia will ensure better protection of Ukrainian borders. Another match (both 15%) is found in believing that no benefits shall be expected from convergence with the EU or Russia.
40% of respondents believe that accession to Customs Union will improve the well-being of Ukrainians (39% disagree). In turn, 46% believe that the EU membership will improve the welfare of Ukrainians (34% disagree).
46% believe that accession to Customs Union will result in growth of industry and agriculture in Ukraine (36% disagree). In turn, 55% believe that joining the EU will jog the development of Ukraine (30% disagree).
43% believe that Russia will always treat Ukraine as second-rate country; in turn, 58% think that Europe will always treat Ukraine as second-rate country.
As a result, 70% think that, prior to joining anyone, we should first ensure some order within the country (only 16% disagree).
Vision of future for the EU
Half of respondents believe in monolithic state of European Union for the next 5-10 years – 28% believe that the EU membership will not change (maybe some countries will leave or some new members will appear), 22% believe that number of the EU members will definitely increase. Some 16% believe that in the next 5-10 years, only several powerful states will still be in the EU. Only 9% of respondents believe that the EU will cease to exist in the next 5-10 years.
More than half of respondents believe that Ukraine will be accepted in the EU someday – including 4% counting for the next year or two, 12% – for the next 3-5 years, 18% – for the next 5-10 years, and 23% consider it a long-term prospect. However, 25% of respondents believe that Ukraine will never be accepted in the EU, and one in five is on the fence.
There is a direct dependence: the more you believe in Ukrainian chance to join the EU, the more you believe in prospects of the EU, the more you support a signing of Agreement on the EU Association by Ukraine.
Ideas of the countries
The respondents were asked to decide which statement suits their ideas about Europe, Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine the most.
Generally speaking, ideas of Belarus are better than of Russia. And of Russia – better than of Ukraine. And the best associations are with Europe.
So, the most common ideas of Europe: developed economy (61%), large number of migrants from other countries (59%), high level of education (58%), welfare (56%), active protection of civil rights (54%), new technology (54%), confidence in future (52%), fair courts (52%), safe life (52%), developed democracy (51%), law-abiding citizens (49%), freedom of thought (48%), stability (46%), equal rights for women and men (45%), good opportunities for business development (45%), affordable medicine (37%).
Russia is also associated with significant number of migrants (although half as much as Europe)
Belarus is also associated with stability, law-abiding citizens, and affordable education (almost identical to Europe).
Russia is also associated with high level of education, but almost three times less than Europe. Russia and Belarus are also associated with confidence in future, but almost three times less than Europe.
Ukraine loses almost any association to Belarus and Russia (not to mention Europe). The only position, where Ukraine is ahead of Russia and Belarus (and far inferior to Europe) is freedom of thought and equal rights of women and men.
In general, Ukrainians have very negative associations with their country. Thus, 70 to 80% associate Ukraine with unemployment, poverty, corruption, and huge gap between rich and poor. Almost 60% associate Ukraine with economic crisis, almost 40% – with degradation.
It must be noted that "economic crisis" is also inherent to Europe (32%) and Russia (30%), and less – to Belarus (17%). And such associations as "unemployment", "huge gap between rich and poor", and "degradation" are also inherent to Russia (although much less than to Ukraine).
Common associations for Ukraine, Belarus, and Russia: understandable culture and language, common past.
Unlike Europe and Belarus, Ukraine (39%) and Russia (69%) are associated with rich natural resources.
Ukraine is practically non-associated with strong power (2%), while Russia and Belarus are associated by 40%, and Europe – by 25%.
Ukraine is practically non-associated with strong army (2%), while Russia is associated by over 40%, and Europe – by 25%.
Meanwhile, Ukraine is practically non-associated with censorship (12%), while Russia is associated by 25%, and Belarus – by 33%.
Only 3% were unable to provide any associations with Europe, 2% – with Ukraine and Russia, and 5% – with Belarus.
Experience of visits to other countries and wish to live there
Only 12% of respondents have been to the EU countries over the last 5 years, including: 1% – many times, 4% – several times, 7% – only once.
Instead, experience of visits to CIS is much better – 25% were there over the last 5 years (including 3% – many times, 12% – several times, 10% – only once).
Despite the fact that Ukrainians visit CIS more often, they would prefer to live in Europe. Thus, 43% would like to live in Europe (45% disagree), 30% would like to live in Russia (61% disagree), and 21% would like to live in Belarus (67% disagree).
At that, wish to live in Russia is rather separating: only 9% from the West of Ukraine and 20% from the North and Center share this opinion (at almost 60% in Donbass). Meanwhile, wish to live in Europe is shared by one third to half of residents in Donbass, East, South, Center, and North of Ukraine.
There is a direct dependence: the more people stay in Europe, the greater is their wish to live there. As for Russia, the dependence is less expressed. Also, the more people stay in Europe, the greater is their support for accession of Ukraine to the EU.
Finally, almost half of respondents believe that better future of their children or grandchildren will be ensured in Ukraine integrated in Europe, while one third of respondents thought of Ukraine integrated in Russia and CIS. Almost a quarter of respondents were on the fence.
At that, only 70% of those supporting accession of Ukraine to Customs Union believe that better future of their children or grandchildren will be ensured by integration with Russia, while one in six sees better future in Ukraine integrated with Europe. One third of respondents, who could not choose the integration vector, were also seeing the better future of their children via integration with Europe, while only 16% – via integration with Russia; the other half is still on the fence.
Thus, at least one in six Ukrainians shifts responsibility for their choice to their children…
The target audience of the research: the population of Ukraine aged from 18 and older. Optional quantity: 2000 respondents. The methods of investigation: personal formalized interview according to the questionnaire (face to face). Measure of inaccuracy for the values close to 50% is less than 2.2%, for the values close to 30% – less than 2.0%, for the values close to 10% – less than 1.3%. The period of completion: 15-28 of March 2013
The oblast’ distribution:
West: Volyns’ka, Transcarpathia, Ivano–Frankivs’ka, L’vivs’ka, Rivnens’ka, Ternopil’s’ka, Chernivets’ka.
Centre: Vinnyts’ka, Kirovograds’ka, Poltavs’ka, Khmel’nyts’ka, Cherkas’ka.
North: Kyiv, Kyivs’ka, Zhytomyrs’ka, Sums’ka, Chernihivs’ka.
South: AR Crimea, Odes’ka, Khersons’ka, Mykolaivs’ka, Sevastopol
East: Dnipropetrovs’ka, Zaporiz’ka, Kharkivs’ka.
Donbass: Donets’ka, Luhans’ka