Support in Russia for the country’s annexation of Crimea has hit a two-year high, the results of a poll by the Moscow-based Levada-Center have found.
88% of respondents supported what the poll called Crimea’s “accession” to Russia to some degree, while only 5% opposed it in any way. The figures represent the highest level of support since April 2014 – only weeks after Russian-backed separatists first entered Crimea.
Since the annexation, Ukraine’s economy has suffered greatly, following a long period of conflict in the Donbas region – the country’s industrial heartland. While inflation is finally back down to a single-digit figure, annual price increases hit a high of 60% in the last 18 months, and the national currency has lost over half its value against the dollar since the annexation.
The poll also asked Ukrainian and Russian respondents to select an income bracket that they feel they could be categorised within, based on the types of goods that they can currently afford. Nearly a fifth of respondents in Ukraine said that they do not have enough money for food, compared with 3% of Russians. Exactly half of the Ukrainian respondents said that they could afford food, but not new clothes, compared with only 18% of Russians.
Despite huge opposition among Ukrainians to Crimea’s annexation – 80% polled are opposed to the current situation – Russian and Ukrainian respondents held similar views on the type of relationship that the two nations should have.
53% of Russians were in favour of an open-border, visa-free relationship with no customs restrictions with Ukraine, with 44% of Ukrainians sharing this opinion. 36% of Russians believed in a closed-border relationship, with visa requirements and customs restrictions, compared with 44% of Ukrainians offering the same answer.
Despite the overwhelming support among Russians for the annexation, only 7% polled believed that the two nations should unite into a single state. 3% of Ukrainians thought the same.