Resisting the Aggressor, Volunteering, Infrastructure Shelling: How the Full-Scale War Affected the Lives of Ukrainians

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28 лютого 2023
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The survey was conducted by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with Razumkov Center Sociological Service under support of MATRA Program from December 13 to December 21, 2022.  

The survey was conducted using face-to-face method in the following regions:

  • Volyn, Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Lviv, Rivne, Ternopil, Chernivtsi regions (Western macro region);
  • Vinnytsia, Zhytomyr, Kyiv, Kirovograd, Poltava, Sumy, Khmelnytskyi, Cherkasy, Chernihiv regions and in Kyiv city (Central macro region);
  • Mykolaiv, Kherson and Odesa regions (Southern macro region);
  • Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhia, Kharkiv regions (Eastern macro region)

The survey was conducted usign a stratified multi-stage sample. The structure of the sample population reflects the demographic structure of the adult population on the territories where the survey was conducted, as of the beginning of 2022 (by age, article, type of settlement).

2018 respondents of the age of 18 and older have been interviewed. The theoretical sampling error does not exceed 2.3%. However, additional systematic deviations of the sample can be caused by the consequences of Russian aggression, in particular, forced evacuation of millions of citizens.

Main research findings

  • In one way or another, the full-scale Russian war against Ukraine has affected virtually every Ukrainian family. Electricity outages were mentioned most often (52%) as a direct impact of the war on citizens' lives. As for other humanitarian effects of the war, about 17% of respondents said that their relatives were forced to move to another region or locality and that they had to be separated from their families. This problem was mentioned more often in the South (25%) and East (27%) of Ukraine. About 21% of Ukrainians indicated that their families' financial situation had significantly decreased.

Almost a quarter (24%) of Ukrainians reported that someone in their family had been mobilized to the Ukrainian Defense Forces, and 18% of respondents said that someone in their family had voluntarily joined the Armed Forces or other units. Volunteer activities in various forms and at various levels have also become a part of many Ukrainians' lives since the start of the full-scale Russian invasion.

  • Nearly 61% of Ukrainians have in some way been involved in volunteer activities to help the Ukrainian Defense Forces or their fellow citizens: some have helped with labor (about 10%), 31% have helped financially, and about 20% have helped both financially and with labor. About 15% of Ukrainians said that they have not been involved in such volunteer activities, however, they intend to be involved in the future. Almost 18% have not been involved in volunteering and have no intention of doing so. The number of those who have not engaged in volunteer activities and do not plan to do so is somewhat higher in the Southern (25%) and Eastern (30%) macro-regions.

            As expected, the number of those who are reluctant to engage in volunteering is higher among citizens who assess their financial situation as poor. However, this does not fully explain regional differences, as the survey demonstrated no significant differences in self-assessment of financial status between residents of different macro-regions.

            Significantly less involvement in volunteering and desire to help their army and fellow citizens is observed among people whose views have been influenced by Russian propaganda. For example, among those who agree with the Russian interpretation of the Revolution of Dignity as a "coup d'etat," there are more people who do not want to help the Ukrainian Defense Forces or IDPs. It should be reminded that this propaganda message is still supported by about 12% of the citizens of the whole country. In the South and East of Ukraine, about 23% agree with this message, but they do not constitute a majority in these regions either.

  • The majority of Ukrainians (about 71%) assess the preparation of local authorities in their communities for crisis situations with utilities as positive or satisfactory. This assessment prevails despite the fact that electricity outages are the most frequently mentioned impact of the war on citizens' daily lives. This is likely due to the fact that Ukrainians consider the Russian Federation to be the main culprit responsible for the electricity outages, as it has been shelling Ukraine's critical infrastructure.

The share of negative assessments does not differ significantly between the regions of Ukraine. It seems that the difference in assessments is caused not by the objective situation with electricity outages in different regions, but by the way people explain the reason for the blackouts. Similar to the previous question, people whose views have been influenced by Russian propaganda are less likely to blame the aggressor. That is why we see a bit more negativity in these people's assessments of the Ukrainian local authorities' preparation for such crises. However, even among people with such attitudes, the majority assess the actions of Ukrainian local authorities as positive or at least satisfactory.

  • When asked about the types of assistance that would be appropriate for their families, Ukrainians most often mention assistance related to improving their financial situation: utility subsidies, direct financial assistance, benefits for the purchase of medicines, and food. The demand for these types of assistance is an obvious consequence of the deteriorating state of the Ukrainian economy and the decline in the purchasing power of citizens. Among elderly people, the demand for such assistance is higher than among younger generations, given the lower income of senior citizens. The number of young people who do not need any assistance from the state is relatively higher (about 30%), while among the eldest age group, the number of such people is only about 14%.
  • Regarding the quality of government agencies' functioning and the quality of social services in Ukraine during the war, for the most part, Ukrainians have not personally experienced improper work of state bodies or institutions such as the police, Territorial Centres of Recruitment and Social Support, Administrative Service Centres, the pension fund, schools, etc. Only 9% of respondents mentioned healthcare facilities in this context, but other state institutions or services were mentioned even less frequently.
  • The same applies to corruption in government agencies and institutions: Ukrainians have hardly ever personally encountered corruption in these institutions. It is worth noting that these survey results cannot be an objective assessment of the activities of the relevant bodies and institutions and do not mean that corruption or improper performance in these bodies does not exist. It is just that the majority of citizens reported that they had not encountered such cases in their own experience.