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

EU Court Fines Poland for Hosting CIA 'Black Sites'

Ruling is first time a court has acknowledged suspects were held and tortured at the sites, under US program launched following the 9/11 terrorist attacks More

Migrant Issues Close to Home Spur Groups to Take Action

Groups placing water, food in the desert, or aiding detainees after release, have one common goal: no more deaths of migrants crossing illegally into the US More

Video At AIDS Conference, Prevention Pill Stirs Excitement

Truveda shows promise, spurring debate over access and other approaches 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.
Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnelsi
X
July 24, 2014 4:42 AM
The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video Israel Targets Gaza Supply Tunnels

The Israeli military has launched a ground operation in Gaza to destroy the myriad tunnels that may have been used to smuggle weapons to Hamas. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports that could mean more hardship for the people of Gaza, who obtain some of their essential supplies through these underground passages
Video

Video MH17's 'Black Boxes' Could Reveal Crash Details

The government of Malaysia now has custody of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17, which was hit by a missile over Ukraine before crashing last week. As VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports, the so-called black boxes may hold information about the final minutes of the flight.
Video

Video Living in the Shadows Panel Discussion

Following a screening of the new VOA documentary, "AIDS - Living in the Shadows," at the World AIDS conference in Melbourne, a panel discussed the film and how to combat the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video US Awards Medal of Honor for Heroics in Bloodiest of Afghan Battles

U.S. combat troops are withdrawing from Afghanistan, on pace to leave the country by the end of this year. But on Monday, U.S. President Barack Obama took time to honor a soldier whose actions while under fire in Afghanistan earned him the Medal of Honor. VOA's Jeff Seldin has more from the Pentagon.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.

AppleAndroid