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27 Nov, 2023 09:42

Only 16% of Russians believe Ukraine is a democracy – poll 

An even smaller share said their neighbor has national sovereignty 
Only 16% of Russians believe Ukraine is a democracy – poll 

Russians largely perceive Ukraine as an undemocratic nation that has no independence and overwhelmingly relies on foreign military support to sustain its conflict against Moscow, an opinion poll has shown. 

Pollster Russian Field revealed the attitude of citizens toward their neighbor in a study published on Saturday, based on data collected by phone from 1600 respondents in late October.  

When asked if they believed Ukraine was mostly democratic or not, 67% of respondents answered in the negative. Another 16% agreed that Ukraine was a kind of democracy, while an equal share said they were not sure. Younger people and those with a doctoral degree tended to see the Ukrainian political system as democratic. Among very wealthy Russians, just 11% perceived it that way. 

An overwhelming 82% of those polled agreed that Kiev is mostly unable to decide its policies independently, while just 13% believed that it can plot its own path. People with a doctorate again had the least pessimistic view of Ukrainian independence, with 31% saying it was a sovereign nation and 64% calling it dependent.

Russians believe that Ukrainian military dependence on foreign backers is particularly strong. With Western aid dwindling, 87% of respondents predicted that Kiev’s forces will no longer be able to stand against the Russian army. 

Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky reportedly told US lawmakers that his country will fall without American aid when he visited Capitol Hill in September. 

In the same survey, 56% of Russians described their nation’s military action against Ukraine as definitely or mostly successful. Two-thirds of those polled supported the strategy of holding the current positions, making it the most popular approach compared to going on the offensive or retreating.  

When asked if seeking peace talks or continuing the military operation would be most preferable, respondents were split 48% and 39% respectively. The most common condition stated for a truce was “an end to all killings,” mentioned by 10% of people. Other popular demands included Kiev’s formal recognition of Russia’s new borders and the “capitulation of Ukraine.” Just 3% said peace required an extreme outcome, such as the full absorption of Ukraine by Russia, or the full withdrawal of troops by Russia. 

If given the chance to go back in time and reconsider the launch of Moscow’s military campaign against Kiev in February 2022, 49% of people said they would not take it, while 35% said they would.