Mykhailo Mishchenko: 94% of respondents are proud of their Ukrainian citizenship

Razumkov Centre has recently conducted a public opinion poll "Efficiency of implementation of the state policy in the field of building Ukrainian national and civic identity: sociological indicators". It has shown the growth of the Ukrainian patriotism. Ukrainians believe that the war is being waged for freedom, and in this struggle they themselves become freer.

We talk about it with Mykhailo Mishchenko, Deputy Director of the Razumkov Centre Sociological Service.

Iryna Kyrychenko

82% are grateful to their parents for giving life

Mykhailo Dmytrovych, tell me, please, since when have you been studying the identity of Ukrainians?

— Razumkov Centre has been addressing this topic since its early days (Established in 1994. — Author).

— You asked the question: "How proud are you that you are a citizen of Ukraine?", and 94% of respondents answered that they are very proud or rather proud of their Ukrainian citizenship. In 2015, there were 68% of them, in 2000 — 62%. The increase in the share of those who are very proud of Ukrainian citizenship is especially noticeable: from 23% in 2000 to 71% in 2023. Did the war contribute to this increase?

— Undoubtedly, any significant events in the life of society influence people's consciousness. The war especially influenced the emotional component of the public opinion, and the emotional component largely influences the formation of worldviews and orientations. Significant changes occurred back in 2014, but since the start of the full-scale war, these changes have become even stronger.

98% of respondents see Ukraine as their Motherland, 97% answered that they have a sense of patriotism. In 2016, 76% gave this answer. Why do not 100% perceive Ukraine as their Motherland?

— Indeed, 1% do not consider Ukraine their Motherland, another 1% did not answer. But about 1% of respondents answered that they are not citizens of Ukraine. Therefore, it is not surprising that approximately the same number do not consider Ukraine their Motherland.

— Questions regarding the number of citizens who intend to leave Ukraine for permanent residence abroad. Compared to 2001, the share of such people decreased from 32% to 11%. However, some could leave as a refugee and try to stay there.

— Yes, some people who intended to leave took advantage of the relaxed rules of entry to the European Union countries — not only those who were immediate endangered, but also those who had long-standing emigration sentiments could leave, and now managed to take advantage of the situation to implement them. However, the decrease in emigration sentiments cannot be explained only by the fact that the majority of those willing to emigrate have already left. The growth of patriotic feelings also affects the desire to emigrate.

Here it is worth mentioning such an indicator as the respondents' desire for their children to live in Ukraine. 76% of respondents expressed such a desire, 10% did not. If in 2001, only 6% believed that their children, living in Ukraine, would feel protected from encroachments on their rights and freedoms, now 53% think so. Confidence that children will be able to obtain education, including higher education, rose from 27% to 79%.

By the way, the share of those who believe that their children will be grateful to their parents for giving them life increased from 49% to 82%.

It is interesting that the number of people who motivate their reluctance to emigrate because nobody needs them abroad has fallen from 30% to 14%. Is Europe and the world accepting our people so well now?

— Yes, it helps reduce this percentage to a great extent. Those who do not intend to emigrate most often explain this by the fact that they hope that life in Ukraine will soon change for the better (the share of such people increased from 17% in 2000 to 33% in 2023). Despite the difficulties faced by the country, the level of optimism, an optimistic vision of the country's future is generally much higher than in the previous years.

Civic consciousness and native language

— The share of Ukrainian citizens involved in the process of policy-making and management decision-making at the national and local levels is 12%. 6% of respondents are involved in environmental activities. Not all of them are deputies and aldermen, right?

— These are not necessarily officials. Let's say, these are active people who believe that they can influence the situation at different levels. They can be civil activists, volunteers. That is, these are people who believe that their activities can influence the activities of the local authorities.

— Regarding the share of Ukrainian citizens who consider it unacceptable for them personally to use corrupt practices, including at the household level. Only 61% believe that bribing an official can be justified under no circumstances. 21.5% believe that in some cases it is justified. Another 4% — that it is justified in most cases, and 3% — always justified.

— Only 61% — I cannot say that this is an optimistic indicator. But in this case, unfortunately, we cannot track the situation in dynamics. Perhaps in previous years there were even fewer grounds for optimism.

— 69% of citizens, assessing their command of the Ukrainian language, answered that they speak it fluently, 28% — that their command of the Ukrainian language is sufficient for everyday communication, 2% — that they do not understand the Ukrainian language well, it is a problem for them to communicate, 0.6% do not understand the Ukrainian language at all. 69% of citizens fluent in Ukrainian — isn't that too few?

— In all countries, everyday language is different from literary language, so it is difficult to say whether it is too little or too much, for this it would be necessary to compare it with the results of surveys in other countries. Here it is interesting to compare the data of 2006 by region and the data of the latest survey.

Let's say, if we take the western regions, in 2006, 89% of respondents said they were fluent in Ukrainian, and now, they make 95%. In the southern regions there were 48% of them, now — 61%. And in the eastern regions, the indicator did not change, there it was a little higher than 40%, and it remained so. Those who do not understand the Ukrainian language well or do not understand it at all mostly live in the south (8%) and in the east (7%). Only 0.4% of them are in the west of the country, 0.9% — in the central regions.

— 68% of the respondents speak only or mostly Ukrainian at home, in 2015 there made 50%, 65% mainly communicate in Ukrainian out of home, in 2015 they made 46%.

— There are also interesting dynamics by region. In the West, the share of those who communicated only or mainly in Ukrainian at home in 2006 made 89%, now — 98%. In the centre, they made 62%, now — 74%.

In the south, the share of those who speak only or mainly Ukrainian did not statistically change (about 30%), but here the share of so-called bilinguals, who sometimes speak Ukrainian and sometimes Russian, increased significantly, from 21% to 51 %. Accordingly, the share of those who speak only or mainly Russian decreased: in 2006, they made 44%, now — 17%. In the south, we see transition from predominantly Russian-speaking to bilingualism. In the east, the share of those who speak only or mainly Russian has also decreased, from 47.5% to 23%. There were 26% of those who speak only or mainly Ukrainian, now they make 36%.

— 74% of respondents believe that it is more prestigious to speak Ukrainian. Only 9% of respondents consider the Russian language more prestigious.

— In addition, the share of those who note the prestige of the Ukrainian language has significantly increased (in 2015, there made only 43%). One of the factors contributing to this is the significant deterioration of the image of the Russian language. In the Soviet times, the Russian language dominated in almost all spheres, it was spoken by those who were considered public opinion leaders. And now it is mostly seen as the language we hear in tapped conversations of Russian soldiers, where half of the vocabulary is obscene.

This war is primarily for freedom

— The share of Ukrainian citizens who are ready to defend the independence and territorial integrity of Ukraine with weapons in their hands is 29%, among men — 44%, among women — 16%.

— It is quite obvious that the share among men is higher than among women. Just as there are more of them among the youths than among older people. Interestingly, in Russia, representatives of the elder generation most often express the willingness to fight, although they probably know that they will not be called to the army. In addition, 42% of respondents expressed readiness to defend Ukraine by participating in the volunteer movement. In 2015, there were 32% of them.

— 21% of respondents answered that they would like their children to become professional soldiers. In 2002, 18% of respondents gave this answer.

— This is not a very significant change, but it should be taken into account that in 2002, many hoped that, even being in the military, their children would not have to fight.

— 3% of respondents participate in the activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defence, the National Guard, Border Guards, and volunteer units.

— We conducted the poll at the place of residence and could only partially cover people who are in the active army. These are the ones we were able to find by place of residence. 43% of respondents noted that their relatives and friends participate in the activities of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, territorial defence, the National Guard, the Border Troops, and volunteer units.

14% are engaged in volunteer activities, 28.5% reported that their relatives or friends are engaged in volunteer activities in support of the country's defence. 36% of respondents answered that they financially supported the defence of the country.

— What conclusions can be drawn about the identity? Has Ukraine become more Ukrainian?

— Here we still need to define what "being Ukrainian" means. We have such results that, according to citizens, there is more freedom in Ukraine than there was before the war. And this may be related with the fact that citizens believe that this war is primarily being waged for freedom and that freedom is the symbol of Ukraine.

We asked: do you primarily associate certain concepts with Ukraine or Russia? When comparing Ukraine and Russia, 76% associate the term "democracy" with Ukraine, and only 0.4% with Russia. In 2017, this concept was associated with Ukraine by 41.5% of respondents, and with Russia by 2% of respondents. If the attitude towards Russia has practically not changed, the association of Ukraine with democracy has grown significantly.

While in 2017, 40% of Ukrainians associated the concept of "freedom" primarily with Ukraine, now 81% think so. Ukraine became more Ukrainian in the sense that Ukrainians more associate it with freedom and democracy. The concept of "freedom" can be called a mental marker of Ukraine. After all, the Ukrainian idea, even at the level of historical mythology, was related with the idea of Cossack freedoms.

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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