News / Europe

Poll Finds Ukrainians Doubt Effectiveness of Interim Government

A pro-Russia protester shouts slogans as she waves a Russian flag outside a regional government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine April 23, 2014.
A pro-Russia protester shouts slogans as she waves a Russian flag outside a regional government building in Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine April 23, 2014.
An opinion poll released Wednesday by a U.S. democracy group finds widespread doubts and worries among Ukrainians who think their country is in the grip of chaos and don't believe the government is effective. 

The poll was carried out by the Washington-based International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), which has been conducting polls in Ukraine regularly since 1994.

The pro-democracy and election-assistance non-profit receives most of its funding from USAID and the United Nations.

It shows 80 percent of respondents from Ukraine’s troubled east said they considered the Western-oriented interim government in Kyiv, formed after the February ouster of Russia-friendly president Viktor Yanukovych, illegitimate.

That's a much higher percentage than anywhere else in the country, according to the poll.

The poll also finds that Ukrainians in the mostly Russian-speaking east also are far less convinced than their compatriots that the May 25 presidential elections will be fair.

Almost half said they thought the elections would lack integrity and be so flawed that the results would not be legitimate.

Pro-Russian agitation and estrangement from Kyiv in the east is tied closely with economic hardship and fear about job prospects, according to Rakesh Sharma, director of research at IFES.

“The underlying issue is economic in nature because in the east… people were asking why should they be closer to Europe and a lot of their anxiety about association with the European Union came down to a fear that as their local economy is so tied to Russia, they will be the ones to suffer,” he said.

“There was definitely an economic rationale being given,” he added.

Self-expression versus terrorism

The polling data shows that other issues also fuel the agitation, although concern about suppression of the Russian language, one of the issues frequently raised by Moscow and cited by pro-Russia separatists, apparently isn’t one of them.

A majority of those polled in the east said they didn’t feel the Russian language was being discriminated against.

Sharma said the focus groups participating in the poll instead showed deep frustration with the way Yanukovych’s government, which had its power base in Ukraine’s east, was ousted by pro-European activists in the Maidan, Kyiv’s central plaza.

“In the focus groups people would say, ‘when people march in the Maidan in Kyiv to throw Yanukovych out, it is called self-expression, [but] when people do it here they are called separatists and terrorists,'" Sharma said.

"They feel they have legitimate grievances that are not being addressed by the government,” he said.

In the polling data the interim government of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk is seen by eastern Ukrainians as representing western Ukraine and Ukrainian nationalists.

Blaming Kyiv

The poll confirms fears that Yatsenyuk and his ministers have bungled east Ukraine.

Blaming Yatsenyuk and his ministers for ineffectively handling the crisis in east Ukraine, a growing chorus of analysts and pro-Kyiv activists in the east are arguing the government should stop its haphazard military campaign to combat separatists.

U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt added his voice to the chorus Tuesday saying at a press conference that he had advised Kyiv against the use of force to drive separatists out of more than 30 seized government buildings in nearly a dozen cities and towns in east Ukraine.

Critics are faulting the government for failing to appoint prominent easterners to the cabinet.

They also say that economic packages should have been quickly tailored for towns and regions in the east to relieve economic hardship.

But austerity measures demanded by the International Monetary Fund for a $20 billion loan would have likely complicated such efforts.

A Donetsk pro-Ukraine activist and ethnic Russian student, worries the Kyiv government doesn’t understand the mentality of eastern Ukrainians.

“This really is a distinct region,” she said. “Our mentality is different from Kyiv and the West and the government has to think more about how it talks to the east."

Taken for granted

Other activists have argued the interim government should tone down its pro-European rhetoric, worrying that it is only fueling eastern discontent, allowing Moscow-backed separatists to exploit the disaffection.

And activists criticize the Kyiv government for failing to do more to counter Kremlin propaganda in a region where many watch Russian television much more than Ukrainian programming.

Top government officials have been wary of visiting the east – thus only confirming suspicions in the region that they take the industrial Donbas region for granted and favor the west of the country.

One of the few politicians to set himself apart has been Economic Development Minister Pavlo Sheremeta, a U.S.-educated former think tank chief.

He has been trying to press the case at small town-hall meetings in Donetsk and other eastern cities that the economic future of the country can be rosy, if it gets the chance to build an innovative, dynamic and diverse economy.

The IFES poll not only highlights the scale of the challenges facing the interim government in the east, but also shows that in all regions of the country there is worry that Ukraine is badly divided.

Seventy three percent of respondents nationwide said the country is fractured, although three in four of those polled believe the rupture is reparable.

More than two-thirds of participants said the country was currently chaotic and 72 percent expressed little confidence in the Yatsenyuk government, saying they felt it was unable to significantly control the problems Ukraine faces.

The IFES poll was conducted April 8-15 with 2,039 people.

You May Like

Yemen Brings US, Iran Closer to Naval Face-off

US sending two more ships to waters off coast of Yemen to take part in 'maritime security operations' More

Minorities Become Majority Across US

From 2000 to 2013, minorities became the majority in 78 counties in the United States. Here's where those demographic shifts are happening More

Japan's Maglev Train Breaks Own Speed Record

Seven-car 'magnetic levitation' train traveled at more than 600 kilometers per hour during test run Tuesday More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Konstantin from: Los Angeles
April 30, 2014 10:12 PM
Russia waits not till elections in Ukraine!
It try to kill Ukraine even before that would happen!
It is what treasonous Russia always doing to nations!
It is what happened in Abkhazia in 1992-23!
If Putin really don't know what another head of "Stervyatnik", military, is doing, invading Ukraine - he can order them out
of Ukraine and call for leaving the buildings, even he
denies Russian involvement!
Instead he arouse Russia by "Victorious conquests" of his
bloody Russia!
It is all about enslaving Euro-Asia, repopulating it by Russian "pomesh'iks" and conquering the World.
INTERIM GOVERNMENT MUST IMPOVE BY SOME SORT OF PUBLIC SUPPORT AND MORE ABLE PEOPLE, EVEN
BEFORE GENERAL ELECTIONS.
Rephrasing an old Georgian joke:

- "If you are under immanent threat,
Do not ask come Russian friends,
Which are always close by - meet
The moment - to grab your lands."

by: meanbill from: USA
April 30, 2014 1:02 PM
Remember when the US and EU praised the overthrow of the Yanukovych democratic elected government? Remember how the US and the EU immediately supported the self-imposed pro-western new Ukraine government? Remember when Ukraine was a united country, and Yanukovych signed an agreement for constitutional reforms and new elections on February 21, 2014, but outside interference wanted him removed immediately? -- (Now Ukraine suffers because of outside interference, and like "Humpty Dumpty" can't be put together again?)..

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs