A poll for the "referendum": signs of falsification

September 27, 2022

The "Crimean Republican Institute of Political and Sociological Research" (RIPSI) has released the results of a poll among the residents of Kherson and Zaporizhia regions: "The main topic of the poll is the attitude to the future referendum on the region's accession to the Russian Federation." Yevgeny Leshan, a journalist of the Internet publication "Centre of Investigative Journalism", established that the Republican Institute of Political and Sociological Research LLC was registered in Simferopol in 2010, and practically did not appear in the media.

Meanwhile, the RIPSI website states that it has been "working in the market of sociological and marketing research in the Republic of Crimea and other regions of Russia and Ukraine since 2001. During this time, at the request of commercial enterprises and political parties, more than 500 public opinion polls were conducted and about 100 feasibility studies of commercial projects were performed" (it turns out that if this institution really operated since 2001, it conducted one poll or performed one feasibility study every 13 days, including weekends and holidays).

Yevgeniy Leshan found only one mention of RIPSI in the pre-occupation period — in a news report dated August 29, 2012, on krasnoperekopsk.net website. It was about an electoral survey conducted by it in one constituency, with a reference to Krymskaya Gazeta.

RIPSI was founded by Dmytro Mosiychuk, until 2010 not known for sociological research activities: from 2006 to 2009, he worked as a leading sales manager at Luxor LLC, administrator of Krymagroservice LLC, director of regional department No. 7 of "Ako Expert" LLC, and suddenly founded a Sociological Research institution in 2010.

According to the RIPSI website, it was "the only company that received accreditation to conduct an exit poll for the March 16, 2014, referendum in Crimea and the city of Sevastopol. And before the Referendum, on behalf of the General Contractor, we studied the attitude of the Crimeans to the questions of the Referendum on the accession of the Republic of Crimea to the Russian Federation." The RIPSI website did not report the identity of that mysterious "General Contractor".

At the same time, as Yevgeny Leshan writes, "According to the Russian registers, RIPSI LLC was on the verge of liquidation in recent years. In 2020, it was declared non-operational. Last time, the Russian official Bulletin of State Registration reported on the liquidation of the Republican Institute of Political and Sociological Research LLC on February 9, 2022, i.e., two weeks before the beginning of the full-scale Russian invasion into Ukraine. And then, the war helped the bankrupt."

So, according to the poll conducted by RIPSI on September 1–2, 2022, “86% of respondents in Zaporizhia region who are ready to take part in the referendum support the region's accession to the Russian Federation. In Kherson region, 76% of respondents willing to participate in the referendum is ready to vote "for" the region's incorporation into Russia”.

Meanwhile, experts of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, based on their own analysis, claim that any properly conducted referendum in the southern and eastern regions of Ukraine "would show that the absolute majority of residents in each region would oppose the region’s separation from Ukraine and joining Russia".

What is wrong with the "Crimean Republican Institute of Political and Sociological Research" and the results of its surveys? First of all, the extreme unprofessionalism in the use of sociological terminology is striking. For example, when it comes to the survey method, for some reason it is noted that it was conducted by "phone call". Sociologists and pollsters know only the method of telephone interview, while "calling" is a method of marketing communication with the purpose of advertising, presentation or sale of goods to potential customers. You don't need to be a sociologist to understand the difference. 

Another "pearl": "The number of respondents who want Zaporizhia and Kherson regions to remain part of Ukraine remains within the limits of statistical error. In particular, in Zaporizhia region — about 1–2%." In general, when a sociologist writes a report or a press release based on the poll results, he can give the exact percentage of respondents who adhere to one or another opinion. He does not write approximately ("about 1–2%" or "about 5–6%). Most likely, RIPSI analysts, having received instructions from the "General Contractor": "Well, write that for Ukraine there is about 1–2%", pasted and copied it in the press release, not daring to change a single letter.

It is obvious that the data given in the RIPSI press release are the expected results of the "referendum" held by the occupational authorities in several regions of Ukraine. After all, the results of this "poll" and of the "referendum" were obviously written in the same office.


Mykhailo Mischenko

Deputy Director, Sociological Service

Born in 1962 in Kyiv

Education: Taras Shevchenko Kyiv State University, Faculty of Philosophy (1984). Ph. D in Philosophy


1984 – 1990 — Sociology Department at the Institute of Philosophy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

1990 – 1998 — Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine

1998 – 2003 — Ukrainian Institute of Social Research

February – September 2003 — Kyiv International Institute of Sociology

Since October 2003 — Deputy Director, Razumkov Centre Sociological Service

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