FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict

FPRI BMB Ukraine: Public has confused opinions on resolving the Donbas conflict
"Public opinion is divided almost in half" when it comes to restoring control over the uncontrolled territories in accordance with the Minsk agreements was one of the findings of a poll amongst Ukrainians on how they want to see the conflict resolved
By FPRI BMB Ukraine December 4, 2020

For Novosti Donbassa, journalist Vasily Panasyuk breaks down the results of a Razumkov Center public opinion survey on official policy aimed at resolving the conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas. As it turns out, popular positions on peace initiatives vary widely across Ukraine’s regions.

For example, “public opinion is divided almost in half” when it comes to restoring control over the uncontrolled territories in accordance with the Minsk agreements: while 38.8% of respondents regard this option as “satisfactory,” nearly 44% consider it “unacceptable.”

What’s more, if these territories can’t be returned to Ukraine’s control, almost half of respondents are prepared to support the “effective isolation” of the uncontrolled territories in other words, breaking of ties completely, including social payments.

As Panasyuk emphasises, respondents from southern and eastern parts of Ukraine expressed differing opinions on both counts. More than half of them are on board with restoring Kyiv’s control over these territories in accordance with the Minsk agreements. And 33.6% of respondents in the South and 41.1% in the East consider the idea of isolating the uncontrolled territories “unacceptable.”

Overall, the most preferred solution supported by 50% of respondents and the majority in all regions was the return of the uncontrolled territories to Ukraine under the conditions that existed before the conflict began. The most unpopular options were these territories breaking away from Ukraine (60%) or their annexation by Russia (69%).

The survey results underscore the difficulty the Ukrainian leadership faces when it comes to establishing acceptable compromises and “red lines” in the peace negotiations.

For example, 30.5% of respondents believe that the Ukrainian side should observe a complete ceasefire in the conflict zone to reduce losses, while 37.3% disagree and the other third are undecided. At the same time, support for a complying with a complete ceasefire was highest in southern (43%) and eastern (50%) Ukraine.

With that in mind, Panasyuk says that Kyiv’s leadership can approach the problem in one of two ways: “The authorities need to decide whether to go against the will of the people or convince them that [an unpopular] solution is necessary,” he advises.

 

 

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This article originally appeared in FPRI's BMB Ukraine newsletter. Click here to learn more about BMB Ukraine and subscribe to the newsletter.

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