Friday, March 14, 2014

Window on Eurasia: Seventy Percent of Ukraine’s Ethnic Russians Oppose Giving Crimea to Russia, Poll Shows

Paul Goble

            Staunton, March 14 – Approximately 70 percent of Ukraine’s ethnic Russians oppose handing over Crimea or the Donbass to the Russian Federation, an only slightly lower percentage than the 77 percent of all Ukrainians who say they are against such a move, according to the results of a new poll.

            The sampling, by the Rating Sociological Group, found that only five percent think Crimea should be transferred to the Russian Federation. Most (77 percent) favored a continuation of its current status, 11 percent said it should be at the same level as other Ukrainian oblasts, and one percent backed offering Crimea the status of a Tatar autonomy (

            At the same time, the survey found that over the last two years, the percentage of those favoring the separation of Crimea had increased from three percent to eight percent, of the Donbass from two percent to eight percent, and of Galichina from five percent to nine percent.  The share of those taking that position increased only in Crimea and Donbass, the poll found.

            And the poll showed, according to the UNIAN article cited by in its write up, that “no more than a quarter of [ethnic] Russians and Russian speakers [in Ukraine as a whole] support the separation of Crimea or the Donbass while a majority (about 70 percent) are against such a step.”

            According to the survey, 61 percent of Ukrainian residents believe that a unitary state is the optimal form for Ukraine, an increase from 50 percent who declared that in 2011. At the same time, 24 percent now say that they favor a federal system, with 15 percent not willing or able to declare themselves on this point.

            At the same time, the Rating Sociological Group said, over the last three years, the share of Ukrainian citizens favoring autonomy for Crimea within Ukraine increased from 60 to 77 percent, with the share favoring the peninsula being an oblast like all others having fallen from 23 percent to 11 percent.

            Those favoring the transfer of Crimea to the Russian Federation were somewhat more numerous in the predominantly ethnic Russian south, where some 19 percent said they favored that idea. When asked directly how they felt about the separation of Crimea from Ukraine, 87 percent of those sampled said they did not support such a move, while nine percent said they did.

            Even larger percentages opposed the transfer of the Donbas or Galichina to Russia, with 87 percent and 83 percent respectively saying they were opposed.

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