News / Europe

New Survey Finds Many Ukrainians Now Anti-Russia

Crisis Turns Ukrainian Public Opinioni
X
May 21, 2014 9:37 AM
A new survey indicates that Russia's takeover of Crimea and its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine have turned much of the Ukrainian population against it. As VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv, the moves could also impact Russia in other ways.
Al Pessin
A new survey indicates that Russia's takeover of Crimea and its support of rebels in eastern Ukraine have turned much of the Ukrainian population against it. The moves could also impact Russia in other ways.
 
For many years after the fall of the Soviet Union, most Ukrainians thought their country should be aligned with Russia. That belief had been changing gradually over the years, but not anymore, according to the latest survey by Kyiv's Razumkov Center.
 
"Really, [the] main lesson is that the situation in Ukraine is changed radically,” said the Razumkov Center’s director of sociological research, Andrii Bychenko.
 
Bychenko said in a sudden shift more than half of all Ukrainians now believe the country should be more closely aligned with the European Union.
 
"The main reason why Ukrainian society changed so quickly to pro-European; it's mainly because of Russian aggression," said Bychenko.
 
Even in eastern Ukraine, where separatists are active, the survey shows only 22 percent of the people want Ukraine aligned with Russia, while 32 percent say it should be closer to the EU. Others have a different view or none at all.
 
A drop in Russia's popularity in Ukraine may be only part of the story.
 
Russian exile and strategy expert Igor Sutyagin, now at London's Royal United Services Institute, said that by empowering militants in eastern Ukraine - many of them from Russia -- the Kremlin has created a problem that could backfire.
 
"They are currently highly radicalized. They have got that feeling of freedom, feeling of fighting against rules. And they have got weapons. Instability in the east of Ukraine is much higher than would be desirable just to control or influence Kyiv's policy," said Sutyagin.
 
Meanwhile, Sutyagin said, Russian President Vladimir Putin is facing another problem. His quick annexation of Crimea has raised domestic expectations of an easy takeover of eastern Ukraine. Military experts, however, say Russia would face fierce opposition from many local people.
 
According to Igor Sutyagin, the cost of such a military operation, plus subsidies for an area with serious economic problems and the threatened increase in Western sanctions, make invasion an unattractive prospect.
 
"It's already too costly for Russia to swallow Crimea. It will be just impossible to swallow the east of Ukraine, but the public is expecting it. So that's the difficulty," said Sutyagin.
 
Video of well-armed and organized Russian-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, and Russian troops along the border, sometimes make war seem inevitable. It could still happen, but many experts believe President Putin will conclude that the cost in economic terms, in Russia's relations with Ukraine and the West, and possibly in military terms, would be too high.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid