Brussels Ukraïna ReviewOriginalSociety

AN INTRODUCTION TO UKRAINIANS OF THE 21ST CENTURY

Ukraine Kiyv

Ukraine has celebrated the 30th anniversary of its independence. Within this period, generations of people were born and formed as individuals in the free state. At the same time, a significant part of the population is made up of those who still remember the USSR with hatred, or nostalgia, or neutrality being the times of their youth, which, unfortunately, “will never return.” How did the mosaic of Ukrainian society develop during these 30 years? What is Vox Populi, the “voice of the people,” calling for? Sociology might be the only source of an objective and scientifically sound answer to these questions.

The results of dozens of surveys have become a colourful collage of public revelations of the population of one of the largest neighbours of the European Union.

So, what are we, Ukrainians? Here are the most interesting questions and the most [un] expected answers. According to the open-source results of social polls, conducted and published by the “Sociological Group “Rating,” the “Social Monitoring Center,” the “Ukrainian Institute of the Future,” the “Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation” together with the “Razumkov Center,” and “The EU NEIGHBOURS East” Project, here comes the following sociological matrix of modern Ukraine:

Today, 80 percent of respondents would support the proclamation of Ukraine’s independence. Only 15 percent would not support it; 5 percent would hesitate to answer. 75 percent of respondents identify themselves as citizens of Ukraine (11 percent do not feel that way), while 26 percent identify themselves as Europeans and 21 percent as a “Soviet person.” [1]

55 percent of respondents believe that after 30 years of independence, Ukraine is really independent, while 34 percent say “no” and another 11 percent say “difficult to answer.” [2]

The two main emotions they feel while thinking about Ukraine are sadness (37 percent) and pride (34 percent). 20 percent feel interest, 18 percent – joy and shame, 16 percent – fear. Only 5 percent feel indifference and anger. [1]

50 percent of Ukrainians consider the slogan “Glory to Ukraine!” to be a credo of modern citizens of the country. [3]

The vast majority of respondents (72 percent) are rather or very proud of Ukrainian citizenship. Only 18.5 percent say they are rather not or not at all proud of this fact.

54 percent of respondents believe that democracy is the most desirable type of government for Ukraine.

53 percent of respondents are convinced that people in Ukraine can freely express their political views, and a fifth of respondents do not think so.

Relatively successful areas of transformation since independence are gender equality, freedom of speech, formation of the Ukrainian nation, equality of national minorities, democracy, civil society and defence in the country. [4] In other words, we can state that European democratic values and the corresponding perception of the world and a person have become our indisputable heritage of the last three decades.

Ukraine has been the least successful in the fight against corruption, the formation of a fair judiciary, the crime control and the establishment of social justice. [4] Vox Populi reminds us that social transformations and institutional reforms, especially in the sphere of justice, are rather slow and need to be intensified.

The dominant foreign policy vector in Ukraine is European and Euro-Atlantic integration. In all questions concerning the views on Ukraine’s future in the international arena, at least half of the respondents confirmed their pro-Western aspirations. Thus, 64 percent are in favour of joining the EU and 54 percent in NATO. [1]

51 percent of Ukrainians have a positive image of the EU, and 64 percent of Ukrainians believe relations with the EU are good. More than 63 percent of Ukrainians recognise the EU’s fundamental values and identify with the values of ‘peace, security and stability’, ‘human rights’, ‘economic prosperity’, ‘rule of law’ and ‘individual freedoms.’

66 percent of people in Ukraine trust the European Union, and only 26 percent trust the Eurasian Economic Union. 62 percent of Ukrainians are aware of the EU’s financial support, and 46 percent of them believe that the support is effective. [5]

Therefore, we can state a “geopolitical shift” in the public consciousness of Ukrainians, most of whom are focused on integration into European and Euro-Atlantic structures and overcoming the “multi-vector” inherent in our country in previous years.

However, a sustainable substitute to European integration is the demand for equal distance from the West and Russia, not so much the pro-Russian vector – this option was chosen by 35 percent. Among opponents of EU accession, only a quarter are in favour of moving towards Russia. Others support independent development. [1]

The attitude of Ukrainians to the leaders of the pivotal states and our neighbours is fairly indicative.

Among the key world leaders, Ukrainians have the best attitude regarding German Chancellor Angela Merkel (73 percent – positive, 19 percent – negative) and the US President Joseph Biden (64 percent – positive, 19 percent – negative). At the same time, over the past few months, attitudes toward the President of the United States have improved somewhat, and attitudes toward the German Chancellor have deteriorated somewhat.

President of France Emmanuel Macron was positively assessed by 57 percent and negatively by 19 percent, while 23 percent could not evaluate or do not know him. The President of Poland Andrzej Duda was positively assessed by 54 percent, negatively by 10 percent; 37 percent could not evaluate or do not know him.

Instead, the Ukrainians’ attitude towards the leaders of Belarus and Russia is mostly negative. Thus, 59 percent of respondents have a negative attitude to Alyaksandr Lukashenka; 34 percent have a positive attitude. At the same time, over the last year the attitude towards the President of Belarus has deteriorated from 45 percent to 34 percent, and, for the last two years, it deteriorated from 67 to 34 percent.

81 percent have a negative attitude towards Vladimir Putin, and only 15 percent have a positive attitude. [6]

The value spectrum of Ukrainians is dominated by universalism, kindness, conformism, and security.

41 percent feel that their best years are still ahead, 24 percent are experiencing them now, and 31 percent said that their best time is over.

Ukrainians willingly declare the importance of universalism and kindness, but they have not shown much tolerance to the block of tolerance research. 47 percent have a negative attitude towards the LGBT community, 42 percent have a negative attitude towards the childfree (people who have decided not to have children), about half of the respondents have a neutral attitude towards both LGBT and childfree, and 7-8 percent treat them both positively.

Among the regions, Kyiv is the most tolerant. But East and West are similar in their conservatism, the only difference is that the religious West is less tolerant of non-believers, and Donbas- is less tolerant towards the LGBT community.

When choosing a desired job, the most important criteria are salary (75 percent), followed by social guarantees (31 percent), team relationships (26 percent), and work schedule (22 percent). The least important are career (14 percent) and prestige together with social status (10 percent).

Ukrainians dream of good health (58 percent), while half of Ukrainians said that they do not go for regular medical examinations but address the doctor just in the case of the disease. In the second place, there is the dream of increasing salaries and pensions (41 percent). For the poor, it is their number 1 dream, for them. It is even more important than health. The dream of children and grandchildren is in third place (40 percent). Almost everyone is interested in traveling, except the oldest.

14 percent of respondents dream of happy love, and for men it is more important: for example, at the age of 25-40, only 14 percent of women dream of love, while among men it is 22-24 percent. Even after the age of 60, every 10th man still dreams of happy love, while among women of this age almost no one dreams of it. [1]

And what are YOU dreaming of, dear Reader?

MARTA BARANDIY, EDITOR IN CHIEF OF BRUSSELS UKRAЇNA REVIEW

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