Opinions of the People on Political and Social Situation in Ukraine
General State of Affairs
There is no general consensus on the current events. Separatism is not widely supported. Even the Communists are divided into two groups – the “combat” sector (those who are going to take Kiev by force and join Russia) and those who think Ukraine should not be divided but the current Kiev government should be forced to appear before a court. The opinions differ. Some even support Yanukovich.
Donetsk goes about its normal business. Students attend university classes; old ladies walk in parks with their grandchildren; the workers work. There is no visible evidence of the strain caused by the latest events in Ukraine.
However, after the conversation starts, most people appear to be extremely anxious about the destiny of Ukraine in general and Donetsk in particular. People eagerly start to talk, but mostly refuse to be photographed or videoed.
The young mostly don’t care about the events going on. Middle-aged people discuss politics a lot – Maidan, Crimea – their thoughts often being in a tangle.
The general idea is that the only chance for the Eastern Ukrainians to earn money is by going to Russia, while the Western Ukrainians are able to get jobs in Europe. This is another reason for local conflicts. Low wages and pensions force people to seek a better lot abroad. Donetsk is a fully Russian speaking city, despite the fact that at schools children are taught in Ukrainian.
People of various ages and social background were interviewed: middle-aged people, pensioners, sales assistants at shops, small business owners, fellow travelers using public transport (total number: over 30 people). Among them was even a former “Berkut” officer, so the survey was by no means biased.
All the participants were asked the same questions: What is your attitude to the current events? What do you think will the further development of the situation be like? Whom do you see as a leader of Ukraine? All the other questions emerged during the interviews.
- The attitude to the Maidan: from neutral/negative to mildly supportive. Feeling sorry for the “Heavenly Hundred”, who died in vain, according to the majority of those interviewed. Understanding of the ordinary people from the Maidan;
- The absolute majority is waiting for a war with Russia;
- The attitude to Yanukovich: a coward and a traitor;
- Ukraine should develop independently, avoiding external alliances. For Europe, Ukraine is just one more sales market;
- The main reason for worrying is uncertainty. There is no common opinion on the further development of the situation;
- Low wages and salaries, low social security;
- The most probable candidate for president to be voted in is Petr Poroshenko. A negative attitude towards Yulia Timoshenko;
- Some express a strong negative attitude to Ukrainian authorities (pro-Russian, among the elderly population);
- The attitude to Dmitry Yarosh (the leader of the “Right Sector”) and to Sasha Bilyi: there is no common opinion. A minority of people interviewed consider them real Fascists; the majority think that they are figureheads used to draw attention from other things;
- Putin is considered a strong politician. A wish to have a president as strong as he is in Ukraine is expressed.