President Vladimir Putin of Russia sets forth this and other similar allegations in his recent article titled “About Historical Unity of the Russians and the Ukrainians”.
However, as many as 70% of the Ukrainian respondents strongly disagree with such statements, according to the public opinion poll carried out by the Kyiv-based Razumkov Analytical Center on August 11 of this year.
The survey concludes, “Seventy percent of the respondents have expressed their disagreement with the article’s claims that allegedly history provides no foundation for stating that the Ukrainians and the Russians are two separate peoples while the separation of the Ukrainians and the Belorussians and subsequently the formation of the two independent nations were the result of the Soviet national policy.”
The survey conducted by the Razumkov Center also shows that the supporters of the Russian leader’s assertions are in minority. They comprise a mere 12.5% of Ukrainians citizens, and 17% are those who have not decided on the answer.
Also, the results of the survey underscore that though the overall majority of the people across Ukraine disagree with the position of Vladimir Putin, the number of the opponents of the Russian leader’s opinion none the less differs depending on what part of the country they live. Thus, the number of the dissenting voices is less in the east. They comprise 52% whereas in the west they make up the overwhelming majority – 90% and 74% in the central areas.
The Ukrainians spoke up what they thought about other claims Vladimir Putin formulated in his article.
The Razumkov Center states, “In his article, the Russian leader wrote that the territory of the present-day Ukraine had been created, in a great measure, at the expense of the lands of the historical Russia which had factually been robbed as a result of those processes. This assertion of Putin is supported by 7% of the respondents, while 76% did not accept this view, and 17% had no opinion on this question.”
The opinion poll was conducted July 29 through August 4 in all regions of Ukraine with the exception of Crimea, the Donetsk and Luhansk regions which are not controlled by the Ukrainian government.
According to Ukrainian political analyst Taras Zahorodniy, the overall number of the opponents of Putin’s statements comprises 70%. He says that it is the most objective figure reflecting the popular dissent from the Kremlin’s theses. Zahorodniy maintains that the percentage of citizens in Ukraine who identify themselves as one people with the Russians is getting fewer year in, year out.
The Ukrainian analyst stressed, “This fact says that the Ukrainians as a political nation have finally established themselves and even those who speak Russian in their everyday life do not identify themselves as one people with the Russians.”
The newspaper Voice of Ukraine