Staunton, July 12 – Vladimir Putin routinely blames Lenin for creating Ukraine by establishing a union republic there, but public opinion surveys in the Republic of Ukraine in recent months show that the current Kremlin leader is responsible for “the birth of a nation” there, according to data assembled by Vyacheslav Yepuryan and Sofiya Pryasnikova.
For The Insider, the two assemble data which show that Putin despite all his bravado his created his own nemesis, a strong, united and self-confident Ukrainian nation that defines itself above all by its hostility to Russia given what the Kremlin leader has done there over the last eight years and especially since February 24 (theins.ru/history/252084).
Here are the key findings of the polls they have surveyed:
· Putin has helped Ukrainians to overcome the problems they had with the foundation myth every nation needs. Before Putin, Ukrainians were divided between supporters of Stepan Bandera and Simon Petlyura. Now, they are united in seeing Russia and its aggression as a shared foundation story (journals.sagepub.com/doi/full/10.1016/j.euras.2014.05.005).
· Putin’s aggression since 2014 has changed the relative number of Ukrainians who regret the Soviet Union and as against that of those who don’t. In 2014, 56 percent said they didn’t regret the demise of the USSR in which Ukraine acquired independence, while 31 percent said they did. Now, 87 percent say they don’t regret the end of the Soviet Union; only 11 percent do. The balance in the Russian Federation has moved in the opposite direction (ratinggroup.ua/ru/research/ukraine/desyatyy_obschenacionalnyy_opros_ideologicheskie_markery_voyny_27_aprelya_2022.html).
· By illegally annexing Ukraine’s Crimea and occupying the Donbass, Putin has removed from the Ukrainian political system approximately five million Ukrainian citizens, many of whom voted for pro-Moscow candidates. Now, they are gone; and Putin’s actions have given victory to anti-Russian candidates (eurasian-research.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/170-1.jpg).
· By invading Ukraine this year, Putin has meant that the share of Ukrainians who think that Russians and Ukrainians are one people, his view, fell from 41 percent in August of last year to eight percent in April 2022 (ratinggroup.ua/ru/research/ukraine/b29c8b7d5de3de02ef3a697573281953.html).
· By invading Ukraine this year, Putin has led to a decline in the percentage of Ukrainians using Russian online and to an upsurge in the share of those who use Ukrainian (ratinggroup.ua/ru/research/ukraine/b29c8b7d5de3de02ef3a697573281953.html).
Two experts who commented on these findings, Andrey Zorin, a Russian historian, and Georgy Kasyanov, a Ukrainian one, agreed that Putin has played a key role in intensifying the Ukrainian identity which existed before he began his moves. They insisted both that Ukrainian identity was strong even before 2014 and that important regional differences nonetheless remain.