Has Ukraine Passed a Point of No Return?

May 24, 2017

Based on the fact that our country is engaged in an armed conflict, which has resulted in enormous territorial and economic losses, I think, Ukrainian people's attitude to Russia has changed significantly. Our survey results confirm this. 80% of the public define relations between Ukraine and Russia as bad or hostile. Another indicator is that most people do not see any prospects for improving relations between the two countries not only in the short or medium term, but also in 50 years. Among the public there is a perception that relations will remain unchanged or worsen — that is more than 70% of the population. And if there is optimism, only in the nearest 5–10 years. However, for now, no grounds exist for the attitude of Ukrainians to improve.

Myths are another extraordinary issue that is difficult to overcome. For example, if we talk about the myth of "one people", 60% of the Ukrainians believe that Russians and Ukrainians are different peoples. At the same time, a quarter of the population say it is one nation.

As for "brotherly nations", here we have more than half of the public believing that Ukrainians and Russians are fraternal peoples. Although compared to year 2016, this figure has dropped: it used to be 62%. But the question is what people are actually investing in this concept? If that means common historical heritage, originating from a Slavic nation, it is one thing; if the nature of relationship is brotherly, then there is another explanation. You cannot tell the percentage of reasoning in those 50%.

But it is a fact that Ukrainians have largely realized their distinctiveness as a result of recent events. More than 60% support the idea that Ukraine has a unique history, not tied to any other country. This is an indicator that Ukrainians perceive themselves as distinctive people, a distinctive nation. And these changes that we are observing today, have began in 2014.


Yuriy Yakymenko

President, Editor-in-Chief of "National Security and Defence" Journal

Born in 1967 in Cherkasy


National Taras Shevchenko University of Kyiv, Faculty of Philosophy (1991)

University of Manchester (the UK), Department of Government, post-graduate course in Political Theory, MA (Econ) (1994)

National Academy of Sciences Institute of Philosophy, post-graduate course in Social Philosophy (1995). The author of about 200 publications

Ph.D. in Political Science (2013). The author of about 40 research papers and more than 200 publications in media


1991 – 1995 — Expert in Public Relations of the Ukrainian Union of Afghan War Veterans

1995 – 2002 — Senior Consultant, Chief Consultant, Head of Division, Deputy Head of the Main Department of Domestic Policy of the Administration of the President of Ukraine

Most recent position at State Service — Deputy Head of the Department for Analysis and Prognosis of Home Policy of the Administration of the President of Ukraine. State Servant of the 4th rank

April 2002 – May 2005  — Razumkov Centre Leading Expert, Political and Legal Programmes

May 2005 – November 2011 — Director of Political and Legal Programmes

November 2011 – June 2020 — Deputy Director General, Director of Political and Legal Programmes

June 2020 — ongoing — President of the Razumkov Centre

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