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Orientation towards Russia is decreasing among inhabitants of Eastern and Southern Ukraine whereas more people are inclined to support neutral status of Ukraine – survey

12.04.2017, 14:55

In almost all oblasts of Eastern and Southern Ukraine the support of the movement towards European Union did not change whereas orientation towards Russia decreased (from 13% to 10% among inhabitants of six oblasts where two waves of the survey were conducted). At the same time the share of those who support “neutral” foreign policy increased (from 36% to 41% among inhabitants of six oblasts).

These are results of the survey of inhabitants of Eastern and Southern Ukraine conducted by GfK company upon the order of the Institute of Mass Information in 2015-2016 and 2017, under the support of the UCBI and USAID.

The reestablishment of the relationship between Donbas and Ukrainian central authorities as it has been before the war is supported by the growing share of respondents (in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts this share grew significantly): from 30% to 34% among inhabitants of six oblasts and from 21% to 30% in Donetska and from 18% to 41% in Luhanska oblasts controlled by the Ukrainian government.

The TV consumption fell down in all indicated oblasts (including decreasing share of those who watch news and analytical shows), in comparison with the first wave of the survey conducted in December 2015 – January 2016 whereas the use of Internet and social media increased (it also means surveyed inhabitants use more often social media for receiving and disseminating news).  

No significant changes in the use of radio were identified. On the other hand, the reading of printed mass media is shrinking, especially, for receiving news.

Despite growing use of Internet and social media, the TV remains the main source of news for the majority of surveyed.

Every fifth (21%) inhabitant of eight oblasts in Eastern and Southern Ukraine lacks information about fighting corruption at the local level. As the IMI monitoring study shows, local media in the East and South of Ukraine do not satisfy this demand. Every fifth news in the regional media in Eastern and Southern Ukraine (up to 20%) is focused on criminal events and accidents. Only around 1% of news from the total number of news is about fighting corruption.

The largest share of news in local media in Eastern and Southern Ukraine are based on press releases and information from governmental bodies – 39%. Journalists supply another 31% of news. Besides that, the IMI analysis demonstrated that 5% of news in local media of Eastern and Southern Ukraine demonstrated that they were likely “ordered”, as of first 2017 quarter.

The largest shares of “ordered news” were identified in Dnipro (9%) and Mykolaiv (7%), the smallest shares – in Kharkiv and Kherson oblasts (2% each). 


During the year 2015-2017, two waves of the polling research were carried out. Within the frames of the first wave, 13280 respondents were interviewed in  6 Eastern and Southern Oblasts of Ukraine in December 2015 - January 2016; in addition, 463 respondents were interviews by mobiles in the non-government controlled areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts. Within the frames of the second wave, 14667 respondents were interviewed in 8 Eastern and Southern Oblasts of Ukraine during January-February of 2017; in addition, 426 respondents were interviewed by mobile phones in the NGCA of the Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts.

The sample represents every Oblast population by age/sex/settlement size according to the data of the State Statistics Service of Ukraine as of 01.01.2015 for the first wave, and as of 01.01.2016 for the second wave. The sample of respondents from NGCA corresponds to the sample of the polling research of the year 2016 by sex/age/settlement size. 

Media monitoring covered local media outlets of Kharkiv, Odesa, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Mykolayiv, Kherson, Donetska oblast (Kramatorsk and Mariupol) and Luhanska oblast (Severodonetsk), during January-February of 2017. In every oblast, IMI experts analyzed news in three printed media outlets, four popular online media outlets and two TV channels. In total, the experts processed 2,612 materials of printed media outlets, 4,692 materials from online media outlets, and 650 TV materials.

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