Reforms in Ukraine: public opinion

Opinion polls
Views: 818
15 July 2019

A national survey was conducted by the Democratic Initiatives Foundation in conjunction with the Razumkov Center Sociological Service from June 13 to 20, 2019 in all regions of Ukraine, with the exception of the Crimea and the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. 2017 respondents at the age of 18 years were interviewed. The theoretical sample error does not exceed 2.3%.

The funding of the survey was carried out within the framework of the MATRA project of the Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands

For comparison, the polls conducted in 2014-2018 by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation in cooperation with partners - the sociological service of the Razumkov Center and the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology are provided.


  • In June 2019, the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (60.5%) believed in the success of reforms in Ukraine: 16.5% are convinced of success, while another 44% believe in it, but stress that they have some doubts. Today, the share of people, who do not  believe in the success of reforms is significantly lower than before - 34%, with only 11% who do not believe in the success completely and 23% who  still have a share of hope. Such a belief in the success of reforms first time achieved such level: in 2015, 30% believed in the success of reforms, 62% did not believe in it, in 2016 - 29% and 65% respectively, in 2017 - 27% and 67%, in 2018 - 35% and 60%. The voters of almost all political forces with a chance to go to the Verkhovna Rada believe in the success of the reforms, with the only exception of "Opposition Platform - For Life" party voters, among whom the majority (58%) do not believe in the success of the reforms.


  • As compared with previous years, conviction that Ukraine can overcome existing problems and difficulties has grown significantly, and 34, 5% of citizens believe that this will happen in the next few years, 44% believe that existing challenges will be overcome in  a more distant future, and only 9% believe that Ukraine is not able to cope with existing problems and difficulties. In 2018, only 20% of respondents were certain that Ukraine would be able to overcome the difficulties in the coming years, while 15% believed it was not at all able to do so. The most optimistic are voters of the "Servant of the People" party, 52% of which are certain that Ukraine will cope with problems in the coming years, voters of the rest of the parties still rely on a more distant prospect.


  • The citizens have the highest hope for the reforms to be conducted by the newly elected President Volodymyr Zelensky (61.5 %), the upcoming Verkhovna Rada (46%) and the future government (42%) . It is clear that the electorate of the party "Servant of the people" (87%) sees the most voters in the new president as the leader of the reforms, but also voters of other parties, such as "Motherland" (57%), "Voice" ( 58% ), Opposition Platform - For Life "(55%) rely on Zelensky as the leader of reforms. But the voters of the European Solidarity party were the only ones who did not see the President as the driving force behind the reforms, instead giving this role to the upcoming Verkhovna Rada (50%), public organizations and volunteers (43%). It should be noted that in the past years both the President and the government were considered by citizens as the drivers of reforms, but with much lower expectations, at the level of 25-35%.


  • Significantly increased the number of citizens, who are willing to tolerate some financial difficulties for the success of reforms: in 2018 only 9% were willing to tolerate it, in 2019 - 19%; ready to endure for a certain time (no more than a year) -, 24% and 40% respectively. If last year it was 62% of those who were not ready to endure financial difficulties for the sake of reforms, , then this year this number decreased down to 31%. Most likely to endure the difficulties for reforms are  the voters of  "Servant of the People" (72%), "Voice" (71%), " European Solidarity" (68%). Least susceptible to suffering for reforms are the  voters of “Opposition Platform -For Life "(42% are willing to tolerate, and 51% - not).


  • The hierarchy of the most important reforms for Ukrainians has been stable for four years in a row: the most important is the anti-corruption reform with a 63 %. Next come  the reform of the health care sector ( 57 %), pension reform and social protection reform (52 %), reform of the law enforcement agencies (37 %), lustration of officials ( 33 %), army reform, and defense capability (26 %). And over the last year the importance of  social reforms - pension and health etc., and social security system in general has increased significantly.


  • Compared to last year, the awareness of the fact that "the state must provide people with the same" rules of the game "in life, and then the person himself is responsible for how he will use these chances" has increased significantly, up to  61% of citizens. (in May 2018 they were 45%). On the other hand, significantly fewer citizens today share the view that "the state should have full responsibility for ensuring that everyone has everything necessary" - 29% (last year it was 44%). The voters of the "Voice" is least reliant on government support, while the voters of the parties "Batkivshchyna" and "Opposition platform - For life" expect more support from the government.


  • Compared to last year, awareness of the importance of freedom and civil rights has increased significantly, 45% of citizens are ready to face certain financial difficulties to achieve them; 28%  are ready to"exchange" freedom and civil rights for welfare. A year ago, a number of citizens willing to withstand the material difficulties for the preservation of freedoms and civil rights was 10% less. The electorate of the European Solidarity party is the most willing to go through certain sacrifices for the sake of freedoms and civil rights, while the only party whose voters (36%) are willing to exchange their rights for welfare was "Opposition Platform - For Life", but 36% of the voters of this party were not were able to make a clear choice of  what is more important to them.