The majority of Ukrainians think the country is going in the right direction for the first time in five years

The majority of Ukrainians think the country is going in the right direction for the first time in five years
70% of Ukrainians thought the country was going in the "wrong direction" for five years, now a majority think it is going in the "right direction".
By Ben Aris in Kyiv September 16, 2019

The mood amongst the public since Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy came to power has done an abrupt about face and deep pessimism has turned to growing optimism in the future of the country.

For most of the last five years circa 70% of people in Ukraine believed their country was going in the “wrong direction”, but that has collapsed to 18% in September and now the majority (56%) believe the country is going in the “right direction”, according to the latest poll from the Sociological Group Rating. A quarter (26%) remain undecided.

Optimism is highest in the west and south of the country while young people and those that voted for Zelenskiy and his party are amongst the most optimistic. Older voters and those that backed former president Petro Poroshenko are amongst the more pessimistic.

Zelenskiy is currently enjoying record high approval ratings, according to the poll: 71% of respondents are satisfied with the activities of Zelenskiy, while 11% are not and the remaining 18% have not decided.

The president's popularity is still increasing and is already up one and a half times on its level compared to the same period a year earlier.

The government has barely been on the job for two weeks and its new head Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk currently has a 29% approval rating. Two-thirds of the respondents remain undecided about Honcharuk.

Separately 39% of the respondents are satisfied with the activities of the newly elected Verkhovna Rada, 16% are dissatisfied with it and 45% were unable to answer.

The vast majority of the respondents (over 90%) support the initiatives for early termination of MPs' authority for absenteeism, reduction of the number of MPs from 450 to 300, and the removal of parliamentary immunity.

More than 70% support the proposal to give Ukrainian citizens the right to propose legislation, expanding the authorities of the president to appoint the heads of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the Specialised Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office (SAP), as well as increasing the number of human rights ombudsmen. About two-thirds are in favour of enshrining in the Constitution such provisions as a proportional election system and the abolition of legal monopolies.