Most Ukrainians Want Democracy, But Not All

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Gallup, a research and analytics group, conducted a survey of 1,000 adults in Ukraine — meaning 15 years and older — between the months of June and July of 2013. The survey examined the governmental preferences of different regions of Ukraine, West, East, and Central, and found that “Western-style democracy,” while popular among a significant percentage, wasn’t unanimously being called for by Ukrainians, at least in the time before the Maidan protests took place. Even so, it did find that Democracy, in various different forms and degrees, was generally “important to most Ukrainians.”

Ukraine as a whole showed 19 percent want the former Soviet system in place for Ukraine’s political structure. A mere 2 percent wanted a monarchy or autocracy, 8 percent were for a “strong authoritarian system that places order above freedom.” The highest two percentages were scene for either a western-style democratic republic at 28 percent or a Soviet-like system that would be market-based and have more democratic aspects at 29 percent.

Western Ukrainians, closer both geographically and politically to European neighbors, tended to prefer Western-style democracy by a large percentage — 57 percent — while Central Ukraine, including the capitol of Kiev, showed only 30 percent in agreement. Finally, Eastern Ukraine — including Crimea, which is closer to Russia regionally and politically — had the least interest in a democracy modeled after Western nations, with 15 percent. Thirty-four percent in the East preferred a market-based Soviet system with certain democratic additions, while 23 percent — the greatest number in all three areas — were in favor of a former Soviet system.

Eastern Ukraine has one of the lowest respondent rates for the second survey on Ukrainian views of the existing government back in June/July of 2013. A majority, 53 percent, said either that they did not know or refused to answer, according to Gallup. The second largest percentage, 19 percent, said that they believed that the present government at the time was a system similar to the soviet one, with democratic and market-based aspects. That compares to 25 percent of central Ukraine and 38 percent of Western Ukraine who said the same. Minimal numbers in all three regions believed the government to be the same as the former Soviet system or a strong authoritarian system.

When asked about the level of satisfaction Ukrainians had with the Democratic workings of their government at the time, 48 percent said they were somewhat or very dissatisfied with the way democracy worked in Ukraine. One percent across the board in all regions said they were very satisfied, with the greatest percentage in all areas remaining neutral, saying they were neither satisfied or dissatisfied.

According to Gallup, the dissatisfaction is likely a reflection of the minimal improvements Ukraine has seen economically and in terms of corruption control since the Orange Revolution in 2004 – 2005. “Their economy was in shambles at the time of the survey and they saw corruption getting worse. However, the majority of Ukrainians [68 percent] also continued to believe it was important for the country to have an active political opposition, which was squelched under President Viktor Yanukovych’s tenure,” said Gallup.

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