A survey of 800 respondents at the checkpoints in the Donetsk and Luhansk Regions (Hnutovo, Novotroitske, Maiorsk, Stanytsia Luhansks) was conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation on March 4-23, 2019.
To compare responses obtained at the checkpoints with national and regional opinions, the tables show data of these surveys:
National survey was conducted by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation in cooperation with the Razumkov Centre Sociological Service from December 19 to December 25, 2018 in all regions of Ukraine, with the exception of Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Regions. 2017 respondents from the age of 18 years onwards were interviewed. The theoretical sample error does not exceed 2.3%. The survey was funded within the MATRA Project of the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Regional public opinion poll was conducted in Donetsk and Luhansk Regions (on the territory controlled by Ukraine) by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation (with the involvement of the Ukrainian Sociology Service network in October-November 2018). In total, 500 respondents were interviewed in each of the regions according to a sample representing the adult population of the regions (except for the occupied territories). The sample is representative by such indicators as sex, age, education and place of residence. The sampling error is no more than 4.6%.
Regional polls are part of the study “Progress of the Peace Process in Donbas: Engaging Local People in the Development of Possible Ways Out of the Conflict” carried out by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation with the support of the Canadian Embassy in Ukraine.
Public discussion “Public Opinion and Assessment of Situation in Donbas by the Citizens: What Expectations, Hopes and Concerns the new President of Ukraine Will Have to Deal With” is held with the support of the Embassy of Canada in Ukraine.
- Most of the citizens (49%) interviewed at the checkpoints say that their lives have worsened over the past 12 months. At the same time, 16% indicated that life has become intolerable, and 33% could still cope with the deterioration of living conditions. However, 39% indicated that living conditions have not changed, 10% felt positive changes. The rest did not answer.
- Citizens surveyed at the checkpoints most often complain of threats of war (resumption of hostilities, bombardment) and the restriction of possibilities for rapid and free movement between settlements (48% and 42% of respondents respectively). The same number thinks that these two issues remain unresolved. The second big block is social and legal issues. 25% of those polled at the checkpoints find it hard to provide for their families (children, elderly relatives and the disabled), 23% have difficulty getting medical care, 16% and 14% indicate difficulty finding a job and getting a fair salary. 24% face the problem of protecting their property from criminals, and 17% are having problems through abuse of power (threats, bribery) by officials on both sides of the demarcation line, and 20% acknowledged difficulty in communicating with their relatives.
- At the same time, the survey showed that although 44% of citizens surveyed at the checkpoints often face the problem of receiving pensions and other social benefits, a mere 23% acknowledged that this problem remains unresolved. According to the respondents at the checkpoints, progress in solving problems related to the execution of various documents is less successful (49% faced the problem, it remained unresolved for 38%).
- Thoughts about their own future cause feelings of anxiety (53%), hopelessness (41%), confusion (34%), fear (33%) and hope (25%) for the citizens polled at the checkpoints. At the same time, a mere 38% does not expect better change in their lives, while 62% expect changes for the better, they estimate timing of the changes in different ways though: 14% of respondents are waiting for such changes in the near future, 25% think that changes will come in 2-4 years, 23% believe that this is possible only in the long-term perspective (5-10 years).
- In their expectations regarding the presidential election, the opinions of citizens polled at the checkpoints were divided: 35% believed that after the elections there would be a real chance for peace, while 33% did not expect anything at all, 12% feared the resumption of hostilities, 7% hoped for the blockade to stop, and 15% failed to answer the question. At the same time, the majority of respondents (62%) believed that residents of uncontrolled territories have the right to vote in the elections of the President of Ukraine (the opposite opinion was expressed by 18%). Moreover, 56% expressed their personal desire to vote, in contrast to 36% who did not exhibit such an interest, another 8% did not answer this question.
- The attitudes of respondents polled at the checkpoints to the possible ways of restoring peace practically do not differ from the opinion of the respondents who were polled in the territories of Donbas under the control of Ukraine. 48% are ready to get peace at all costs (46% in controlled Donbas), but 40% believe that not all compromises are acceptable (34% in controlled Donbas), belligerent solution is supported by an absolute minority – 6% of those polled at the checkpoints (10% in controlled Donbas). The remaining 6% has not made its mind yet. Similarly, relative majority (42% of the respondents at the checkpoints and 48% of the respondents in the region) supports the restoration of normal life in the Donbas territories controlled by Ukraine as the main decision making peace possible. A mere 23% (and 24% in the region as a whole) believes that the fact of giving the DPR and LPR a special status within Ukraine will accelerate the peaceful resolution of the conflict, while 16% (18% in general, in controlled Donbas) are hoping for strengthening in international sanctions, pressure of international structures on Russia.
- Comparison of the opinion of those polled at the checkpoints and those surveyed in controlled Donbas revealed differences in the attitude towards the idea of peacekeeping missions and various options for deploying peacekeepers in the region. 47% of the respondents polled at the checkpoints expressed their support for the deployment of peacekeeping forces on the territory of CDDLR and 40% were against it, while in controlled Donbas a mere 30% was for peacekeepers and 47% was against them. At the same time, 48% of respondents polled at the checkpoints supported the “Russian version” of deploying peacekeepers on the demarcation line (a mere 15% agreed to this option in controlled Donbas) and 33% supported the deployment of peacekeepers in all occupied territories (44% in Donbas). Respondents who were unable to choose the options for deploying peacekeeping forces were twice as high (40%) in Donbas than among respondents at the checkpoints (20%).
- It is also illustrative to compare respondents’ answers to questions about the sources of their information: In particular, 49% of respondents at the checkpoints cited Russian TV channels (16% in controlled Donbas), another 23% cited “DPR/LPR” media. Also, much fewer respondents at the checkpoints as compared with polls in the controlled territories cited various Ukrainian media outlets. The lower rates of websites and social networks use may be attributed to the older age of the majority of respondents at the checkpoints compared to the sample in the survey in the controlled territories.
- The respondents cited visits to relatives and friends (47%), execution of documents (47%), pensions and payments (45%), and the purchase of necessary goods (37%) as the main reasons for crossing the demarcation line. The main requirements for the operation of checkpoints on the part of respondents are as follows: higher throughput capacity of the checkpoints (58%), simplification of crossing procedure (57%), security guarantee (31%), increased availability of transport connection with the cities in the controlled territory (25%), creation of conditions for comfortable waiting in the cold / hot seasons 20%).
- The socio-demographic structure of the respondents at the checkpoints differs from the statistics throughout Ukraine with the prevalence of women and senior citizens: females – 59%, males – 41%; citizens younger than 30 years old – 10%, 30-50 years old – 43%, over the age of 50 – 47%. The language of communication in the families of the vast majority of respondents is mainly Russian – 81%, mostly Ukrainian was cited by 1%, and 18% of respondents use both languages depending on the circumstances.
- Among those polled at the checkpoints, 60% consider themselves citizens of Ukraine, 18% are residents of the region, 3% consider themselves citizens of the Russian Federation/USSR, 3% are the representatives of their nationality, people, 5% are the citizens of the DPR/LPR, and 5% said that it is hard to say.
Source: Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiative