Reforms in Ukraine: public opinion of citizens


The Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation conducted polling in conjunction with the Razumkov /Center from July 22-27, 2015. A total of 2,011 respondents aged 18 and oldere  were polled Crimea and the occupied territories of the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. The theoretical margin of error does not exceed 2.3%. The polling was conducted within the framework of the Civil Social Consortioum with the support of the European Union.

  • Basically every Ukrainian felt the consequences of the current financial-economic crisis: 59%- very seriously and another 37% - to a certain degree. The main economic consequence of the crisis for the majority of the population was the rise in prices (75%) and the reduced purchase of clothing and other items (72%) associated with this, the decrease in consumption of food products (67%) and the limitation of purchase of medications and medical services (55%). Every fourth citizen felt a reduction in wages.
  • The overwhelming majority of Ukrainias do not believe in the success of reforms tht the government is trying to implement: 32% have certain hopes, although they do not believe that this will happen and 30% are totally hopeless. However, only 30% on the whole believe that reforms will be successful.
  • Nearly half of Ukrainians (48%) feels that the new Ukrainian leadership did not achieve any progress in implementing reforms. Every fourth citizen feels that approximately 10% of that which should have been done was achieved, every 10th felt that no more than a third of the reforms were implemented and 3% - no more than half. Finally, 0.6% of citizens believe that the government implemented more than half of the planned reforms..
  • In the opinion of citizens, the government and oligarchs are the greatest obstacles to the conducting of reforms (51%). On the other hand, in the opinion of 32% of Ukrainians, the government is not an obstacle to reforms, rather on the contrary fosters the conduct of reforms. Conversely, only 7% of Ukrainians have such an opinion a it pertains to oligarchs. Accordingly, the conditional balance of the attitudes towards the role of oligarchs in conducting reforms is the worst among agents in this process (-44%). Ukrainians give an extremely low assessment of the analogous influence of state officials (-38%) as well as political forces that are part of the composite of the coalition (-22%). The number of those who feel that the president is the driving force and the brakes on reform is approximately equal: 37% і 39% respectively. Non-government organizations and volunteers can boast the highest balance of the attitudes of citizens in the context of influence  on the conducting of reforms: 22% feel that they foster reforms,, while only 0.5% – that are obstacles to such reforms. Ukrainian citizens demonstrated a similar balance overall: 18.5% feel that the president is the driving force of reforms, while only 3% feel his is an obstacle to them.
  • The main reason for the current socioeconomic crisis in Ukraine is the corruption among representatives of the ruling power (72% of Ukrainians are convinced of this). Besides that, in their opinion the oligargization of the economy was also an important (54%), incompetent administration of the social and economic spheres on the part of the political leadership of the country (47%) and the absence of a strategy of socioeconomic development (35%). 30% of the polled believe the military actions in the Donbas region are the cause of the crisis.
  • The overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (54%) support the continuation of market reforms for the sake of overcoming the socioeconomic crisis in the country. 20% of the polled named the transition to a planned economy a panacea.
  • The most important reform for Ukrainians is anti-corruption measures – 65% of citizens feel this. In addition to that, on the list of priority reforms respondents of the poll mention reform of law enforcement bodies (58%), pension reform and reform of the social security system (40%) and reform of the healthcare system (36%).
  • Only 9% Ukrainians are fully satisfied with the state of the government informing them about its work. In the opinion of 39% of citizens, the information that the government provides often does not correspond to reality, 28% feel that such information is not sufficient and 24% complain that the information is not understood. At the same time, 12% are convinced that experts and not the average citizen should be interested in such information.
  • Ukrainians are split in their attitudes towards the appointment of citizens of other countries to state positions, first and foremost Georgia. The equal number of the polled – 42% – support and do not such staffing decisions. Moreover, in the western and central oblasts of Ukraine the polled support such appointments (58% and 49% assess them as positive, respectively), while in the southern and eastern oblasts and the Donbas region  the people for the most part do not support such appointment (33%, 29% and 26%, respectively). The attitudes towards the appointment of Mikhail Saakashvili the head of the Odesa Oblast State Administration (OSA) are slightly better: 44% gave a positive assessment, while 38% gave a negative assessment. At the same time, the regional differences are equally expressive: in western and central oblasts the majority of the population supports such a decision (62% and 53%, respectively), while in the southern and eastern oblasts and the Donbas region – the minority (35%, 30% and 28%, respectively).
  • Slightly more than a third of Ukrainians (36%) are ready to tolerate a further decline in their standard of living for the sake of the success of reforms (of them 8% are ready to tolerate as much as it takes, while 28% - no more than a year). At the same time, every third Ukrainian cannot tolerate it any longer as their material status today is intolerable and every fourth citizen cannot tolerate any longer as it does not believe in the success of reforms.  Only in western regions of the country the majority of residents are ready to tolerate material hardships for a certain period of time (overall, 57%). In all other regions of the country such residents were in the minority (in the central region – 37.5%, in the southern region – 25%, in the eastern region – 23%, in the Donbas – 28%). Over the past half year, the number of those who are ready to tolerate hardships for the sake of the implementation of reforms decreased by 8%, while the number of those who are not ready to tolerate such hardships increased by 11%.  
  • Nearly 30% of Ukrainians are aware of the civil initiative “Reanimation Package of Reforms”: 4% a well aware of it, while 25% heard something about it.
  • A relative majority of Ukrainians (51%) admitted that it is not ready to make personal efforts for the sake of the success of reforms in the country: 28% – because they feel that bodies of the state should engage in them, while 23% - because they do not believe in the success of reforms. On the other hand, 28% are ready to attentively observe information about the progress of reforms in the mass media, 13% are ready to gain knowledge necessary for orienting themselves regarding reforms and 11% are ready to participated in public debates.

 

Results of the public opinion poll

 

Currently, the financial-economic situation in Ukraine is extremely complicated. Did you personally feel any impact from this situation?

Yes, and quite tangible

59.2

Yes, to a certain extent

36.6

No

2.3

Difficult to say

1.9

 

What economic consequences did you personally feel? (note what personally had an impact on you)

Rise in prices of residential utilities

75.1

Decline in the purchase of clothing, footwear and other items

71.7

Decrease in the consumption of food products харчування

67.1

Limitation of the purchase of medications and payment for other medical services

54.9

Refusal to go on a normal vacation

32.5

Reduction of wages

25.7

Non-payment or not full payment of wages (pensions, social assistance)

19.1

Loss of savings (due to devaluation of the hrуvnia or “return of savings in hard currency by banks according to the inappropriate exchange rate)

14.4

Diffiulties in repayment of bank loans

10.0

Loss of a job

9.5

Difficulties with return of bank deposits

7.1

Перехід на неповний робочий тиждень, вихід у неоплачувану відпустку

7.1

Inability to buy hard currency

6.7

Other

1.4

None of the above

0.9

I personally did not feel the impact of the economic crisis

1.8

 

Do you believe in the success of reforms in Ukraine?

Yes, I am sure of this

4.8

Generally speaking, I believe in this, though I have doubts

25.6

Generally speaking, I do not believe in this, though there is still a ray of hope

32.2

No, totally do not believe in their success

30.3

Difficult to say

7.1

 

How do you assess the progress of reforms? How much was done of that which the government should have done?

Nothing has been done

48.4

Approximately 10% has been done

24.6

No more than a third has been done

9.5

No more than half has been done

3.3

A better part of the reforms has already been done

0.6

Difficult to say

13.6

 

In your opinion, who is the main driving force and obstacle to the implementation of the necessary reforms in Ukraine? (choose no more than 5 of the options of responses offered below)

 

Driving force

Obstacle

Balance

The president 

36.8

39.1

-2.3

The government

32.0

51.5

-19.5

Non-government organizations, volunteers

22.4

0.5

+21.9

Political forces that make up the majority in the Verkhovna Rada

22.1

44.5

-22.4

The people

18.5

2.6

+15.9

Western countries

11.5

2.4

+9.1

Regional governments

9.0

17.5

-8.5

Scholars, scientists

8.3

0.5

+7.8

Oligarchs

6.9

51.5

-44.6

The opposition

6.2

17.2

-11.0

Bureaucracy, government officials 

5.5

44.0

-38.5

Bodies responsible for the rule of law (prosecutor general’s office, the courts, the police)

3.6

21.4

-17.8

Russia 

1.3

12.0

-10.7

Others

2.7

1.4

 

Difficult to say

22.0

6.9

 

 

What are the main reasons, in your opinion, led to the current socioeconomic crisis in Ukraine? (choose no more than 5 of the options of responses offered below)

Corruption of the government, embezzlement of state funds by high-standing officials

72.1

Control of the economy by oligarchs, appropriation of profits and laundering funds abroad

54.4

Incompetent management of the economy and the social sphere on the part of higher bodies of power

47.4

The absence of a strategy of socioeconomic development

35.3

Military actions in the Donbas

30.3

Unfair and illegal privatization of large state enterprises (i.e. plundering)

30.1

Absence of realistic market reforms

24.5

Imperfection of the legislation of Ukraine and constant violations of the effective laws

20.7

Absence in the economy conditions for initiatives by average citizens and the development of small and medium-sized business

16.6

Breach of economic ties with Russia and countries of the CIS

13.7

Refusal of the state from planned regulation of the economy

10.5

Scientific and technological backwardness of Ukraine compared to leading countries of the world

10.3

Absence of full-fledged membership in the European Union

5.1

Other

1.3

Difficult to say

2.9

 

What changes, in your opinion, are needed in the economic policy of the state n order to overcome the socioeconomic crisis iin Ukraine?? (choose one answer)

More decisive continuation of market reforms, creation of a competitive environment and favorable conditions for business

53.7

Refusal from market reforms that did not justify themselves and a transition to a planned economy and socioeconomic model of development

20.4

No changes are needed. Everything can remain as it is today

2.2

Difficult to say

23.7

 

Which reforms, in your opinion, are a priority? (provide no more than 5 responses)

Anti-corruption reforms

65.2

Reform of bodies responsible for the rule of law (courts, prosecutor general’s office, the police)

58.0

Pension reform and reform of the social security system

39.9

Healthcare

35.9

Reform of the army, strengthening of defense capacities

30.9

Lustration of government officials (review of potential dismissals

28.8

Tax reform

21.5

Defining the status of the occupied territories in the Donbas region

20.0

Decentralization and regional development 

17.8

Reform of election legislation

14.0

Deregulation and stimulation of the development of enterprise and investments

14.0

Educational reform

11.9

Administrative-territorial reform 

11.5

Land reform 

8.1

Reform of the mass media

1.2

Other 

1.2

Difficult to say

4.6

 

How do you assess the state of the government informing society about its work and reform? (choose no more than two options)

Information is sufficient and is understood. If a person wants, then it has the possibility of figuring out what the government is doing and what reforms it is conducting

8.9

There is plenty of information about the work of the government and reforms, but it is not understood for the average citizen

24.4

Information is insufficient. A person does not have the possibility to figure out what the government is doing and what reforms it is conducting

28.1

Information that the government provides regarding its work and reforms cannot be trusted as it often does not reflect the reality of the situation

39.2

Experts must take interest in the information about the work of the government and reforms. This is too complicated to covey to the entire society

12.2

Difficult to say 

6.2

 

What is your attitude towards citizens of other countries that hold high positions in the government of Ukraine, in particular Georgia?

 

West

Center

South

East

Donbas

Ukraine

Totally positive

17.1

14.4

10.2

11.3

7.5

12.9

Mostly positive

40.8

34.5

22.7

17.8

18.8

29.0

Mostly negative

13.7

16.6

32.1

21.1

25.7

20.3

Totally negative

14.4

17.0

19.3

31.9

29.8

21.5

Difficult to say

13.9

17.5

15.7

15.9

18.3

16.4

 

What is your attitude towards the appointment of Mikhail Saakashvili the head of the Odesa Oblast State Administration?

 

West

Center

South

East

Donbas

Ukraine

Totally positive

29.6

19.7

13.3

11.4

12.4

17.2

Mostly positive

31.9

33.7

21.7

18.9

15.7

26.5

Mostly negative

12.5

15.6

21.8

33.6

27.4

16.9

Totally negative

19.7

18.4

17.3

15.9

21.8

20.8

Difficult to say

6.3

12.6

25.9

20.2

22.7

18.6

                        

The implementation of reforms is totally possible, but could lead to a temporary lowering of people’s standards of living. Are you prepared to deal with certain material hardships?

 

West

Center

South

East

Donbas

Ukraine

Yes, I am ready to tolerate as long as it akes if such reforms truly lead to the country’s success

14.3

10.3

5.1

5.6

2.4

8.5

I am prepared to tolerate it, but not for long (no more than a year)

42.7

22.2

20.2

17.5

25.8

27.9

No, I am not ready as I do not believe in the success of such reforms

24.2

33.3

39.0

49.4

37.5

25.2

I am not ready as my current material standing is at the moment unbearable

13.1

33.3

39.0

49.4

37.5

33.3

Difficult to say 

5.7

7.3

4.2

4.1

1.8

5.2

 

The implementation of reforms is totally possible, but could lead to a temporary lowering of people’s standards of living. Are you prepared to deal with certain material hardships?

 

December 2014

July 2015

Yes, I am ready to tolerate it as long as it takes if it indeed leads to the country’s success

10.3

8.5

I am ready to tolerate it, but not for long (no more than a year)

33.5

27.9

No, I am not ready as I do not believe in the success of such reforms

19.5

25.2

I am not ready as my current material standing is at the moment unbearable

28.9

33.3

Difficult to say

       7.9

5,2

 

Are you aware of the civil initiative “Reanimation of the Package of Reforms”?

Yes, I am aware of it

4.3

Have you heard anything about it

25.4

I don’t know anything about it

70.0

Refused to answer

0,.

 

What are you personally prepared too do for the successful implementation of reforms? (several answers are possible)

Attentively follow the information n the mass media regarding the implementation of reforms

27.9

Obtain the necessary knowledge that would allow me to better understand the reforms at a more qualified level

12.8

Participate in discussions and offer proposals

11.2

Put pressure on bodies of power for the need to participate in acts of protest

9.6

Participate in the activity of non-government organizations and volunteers 

7.8

Contribute money for the activity in the implementation of reforms

1.5

Difficult to say

9.6

I will not do anything as the government and bodies of power should be engaged in reforms, not citizens

28.1

I will not do anything as I do not believe in the success of reforms

23.0