TWR Research: Ukraine Political Crisis, East Vs West (Survey Results) #євромайдан

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It has been almost two months since the people of Ukraine went on the streets protesting against the government. The protest, which spread to many cities, is criticizing the decision of the Ukrainian government to reject European Union’s Association agreement in favor of improving trade and traditional relations with Russia. Since then, the government has failed to cool down the tempers. The situation became even worse recently when the government of Ukraine made a law that sums up protesting as illegal.  Protests which were gradually becoming mild, turned violent with protesters fighting the police and raiding government buildings.

While Ukraine is in the midst of a crisis, foreign media have been doing their best to propagate their own propaganda. Western media came out to the full support of European Union and the protests, whereas Russian media did their best criticizing the protests and supporting the Ukrainian government.

There was always this belief that Eastern Ukraine is more pro Russia, and western Ukraine is more tilted towards Europe. This division became prominent when pro-government rallies were organized in eastern parts of the country such as Donetsk. Though autonomous republic of Crimea is a part of Ukraine, people consider themselves as Russians and hold Russian passports. Crimea, along with rest of eastern Ukraine came out with strong support for the government.

At the time when divided media is dividing public opinion, it is very important to understand what actually is happening in Ukraine. For this reason, we surveyed native Ukrainians asking their opinion on recent protests and we got mixed responses as we had expected.

The survey was done asking a set of questions in person, on website and on social media from people belonging to different age groups, genders and regions of Ukraine.

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We asked people, if given a choice between European Union and Russia, what would they choose? 60% of Ukrainians said they will prefer European Union, 33.33% said they want to align towards Russia or Customs union and 6.66% people said they want a free country, neither towards European Union or Russia.

Ukraine with EU or Russia ukraine political crisis

We then asked the same people if they think Ukraine may have a better future with European Union. 33.33% percent people said no. whereas 53.33% said yes and 13.33% people were unsure. This statistic gives an interesting insight when compared with the one above. A significant number of people who wanted Ukraine to incline towards European Union were confused and unsure if it is good for Ukraine, assuming that those who want Ukraine to incline towards Russia will always deny the possibility of a better future with European Union.

Ukraine's future with EU ukraine political crisis

European Union itself has been undergoing a financial crisis and the new member states, especially the countries of East Europe have in a number of times blamed EU of discrimination (take for example Bulgaria and Romania that are kept out of Schengen area). There are countries like United Kingdom who want to leave the European Union and there are countries like Iceland, Switzerland and Norway who do not want to join European Union. Greenland has left the European Union at its will. At this juncture, will Ukraine find a respectful position if it completely joins the European Union? Or bringing Ukraine to EU is just a plan to embarrass Russia? We asked the same question from the people we surveyed and we got mixed response: 40% people said yes, Ukraine may become a victim of discrimination, and 40% people said no.

Ukraine discrimination in EU ukraine political crisis

At the moment Ukraine is having a political crisis where protesters have been so far successful in getting the Prime Minister of the country resign. There are clashes between principles. Protesters are raising their voice and demonstrating because they have every right to do so. However, the government believes they are elected majority, brought by the majority of the people of Ukraine, therefore they have every right to govern and do not want to give up.

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As we were analysing the survey results, we could clearly see the east and west divide among Ukrainian population, where east supporting the government and west against it.

Ukraine Map of protests ukraine political crisis

Ukraine political crisis

It is difficult to accurately determine which side has more supporters. In every democracy people have the right to elect their leaders and if they are not happy with the government then they have the right to make the government fall. Nevertheless, if the number of people who elected the government is more than the number of protesters, then is it democratic to force the government to quit? In any democracy, the party that has the largest support group should be the winning one… right? Considering the split of opinions between East and West dividing the country, it looks like one has the majority. I asked this same question to my Ukrainian friend who had come for a visit to India and he said that many west Ukrainians had boycotted the elections and did not cast their votes, thus president Viktor Yanukovich was put into power by easterns. So things might not be so simple after all.

European Union and Customs Union trying to gain Ukraine, made Ukrainians fight with each other, which is a sad reality. Now the question is not whether Ukraine will chose European Union or customs union, the question is whether Ukraine will let Yanukovich govern or not. He is serving one of the toughest times. After the resignation of Prime Minister Azarov, the President remains with less power. However, under the new constitution introduced in 2004, most of the power remains in the hands of the president. And the government can work for another two months without the Prime Minister.

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The chaos in Ukraine started when the government refused to sign the Association Agreement with the European Union. An association agreement is different than permanent membership of European Union. Such an agreement facilitates the cooperation between European Union and signatory countries in areas that include development of political, trade, social, cultural and security links. This agreement does not ensure better jobs, better lifestyle, access to Schengen region and other facilities and benefits which EU member states might enjoy. However, this agreement may make it easier for Ukraine to join European Union in the future, requiring an approval in the parliament or a public referendum.

European Union has certain membership criteria, and among them some criteria where Ukraine fails as of today are:

  • stable institutions guaranteeing democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for and protection of minorities;
  • a functioning market economy and the capacity to cope with competition and market forces in the EU;

On the other hand, Russia has assured that it will not review its earlier signed agreements if the new government comes to the centre. Putin reiterated that the political crisis in Ukraine must be solved without any foreign interference. He further added, the international community, which has been calling on Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich to act in a civilized way amid the crisis, should urge the opposition to do the same.

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Sanskar Shrivastava is the founder of international students' journal, The World Reporter. Passionate about dynamic occurrence in geopolitics, Sanskar has been studying and analyzing geopolitcal events from early life. At present, Sanskar is a student at the Russian Centre of Science and Culture and will be moving to Duke University.
  • Dmitri

    «ВСЕМ ПОКЛОННИКАМ ЕВРОМАЙДАНА! Мы, граждане Украины, требуем, чтобы вы на Майданах страны в любых своих обращениях, устных или письменных не высказывались от нашего имени, т.е. от имени всего народа. Не следует заявлять «вся Украина», «все украинцы»! Ваши обращения должны выражать вашу волю, а свою мы выразим на референдуме. Мы не устраивали погромы, мы с вами не ломали памятники, не разбирали площадь, не захватывали зданий, не избивали «Беркут’»! Не захватывали незаконно власть! Мы не участвовали в евробеспределе рядом с вами! Хватит приобщать нас к вашей численности! Мы, граждане Украины, выражаем полное недоверие вашим вождям-смутьянам, депутатам ВР Украины: А.Яценюку, В.Кличко, О.Тягнибоку! Мы не доверяем им свою жизнь и жизни своих детей! Просим руководство страны обратить внимание и оградить свой народ от европроизвола, от фашистски настроенных вооружённых людей, ввергающих нашу страну в хаос. Убедительно просим всеукраинский референдум, который мы согласны инициировать, чтобы народ мог выразить СВОЮ волю, а не волю Тягнибока, Кличко, Яценюка! Геть – тройке оппозиции! Нет – недобросовестному использованию имени всего народа! Мы есть! И мы против протестов, которые оборачиваются беспорядками в столице и регионах, которые сеют вражду и поддерживаются европейскими и американскими политиками! Мы имеем свою позицию и мы будем её защищать! Мы хотим жить в мирной Украине, где люди смогут спать спокойно.»

    ” EVROMAYDANA all fans ! We, the citizens of Ukraine , require you to at Maidan in any country of their appeals , oral or written did not speak on our behalf , ie on behalf of all the people. You should not say ” all Ukraine ,” “all Ukrainians” ! Your treatment should express your will , and we will express its a referendum. We do not pogroms , we have not broken monuments, not dismantled area not captured buildings not beat ‘ Berkut ‘ “! Not illegally seized power! We did not participate in evrobespredele near you! Enough to attach us to your number ! We, the citizens of Ukraine , completely mistrust your leaders , troublemakers , the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada : A.Yatsenyuk , Vladimir Klitschko , O.Tyagniboku ! We do not trust them with my life and the lives of their children ! Please pay attention to the country’s leadership and to protect its people from evroproizvola from armed fascist-minded people , plunged our country into chaos. We kindly ask national referendum , which we agree to initiate, that people can express their will and not the will Tyagniboka , Klitschko Yatsenuk ! Get out – three of the opposition ! No – abuse of the name of all the people ! We are! And we are against the protests that turn into riots in the capital and regions , who sow hatred and supported by European and American politicians ! We have our position and we will defend it ! We want to live in a peaceful Ukraine, where people will be able to sleep peacefully . “

    • mihail

      Dmitri- да ты типичный предатель.которых надо выгнать из страны !!

    • mark

      Maybe you and your family will rest more comfortably in Mosocw- if In fact you live in Ukraine and not a paid shill for Russia

      • Igor Marchenko

        If you had ever lived in Ukraine then you would have realized this article is quite much unbiased, but you are Mark. I won’t say it is completely unbiased but it quite truly depicts the picture. more number of people are looking for European Union and this article suggests the same.

    • Vladimir

      Same to you Dmitri. Do not use “We, the citizens of Ukraine..” just speak for yourself. Early election, is all people asking for, so people of Ukraine (including you) will mark their ballots and decide on who’s next president and prime minister. And unless present president except people demands, step down and agree for early election, the Euromaidam movement will not stop.

  • Roderick F. Mollison

    Maybe the Ukrainians ought to be allowed to make their own decisions without interference by America and Europe. I don’t see Ukrainians running around the America Occupy Movement, or their government officials running over to “have talks” with our government officials. I didn’t see Senator McCain running around Greece when people there were wondering how they were going to survive the benefits of EU financial aid.
    Maybe we ought to clean up our own problems before we start telling them what to do.

    • Robby Bobby

      Rod, that is quite possibly the biggest understatement of the year! But such simplicity and the obvious fact of cleaning our own homes before telling others how to clean their homes is just hypocritical in the treason soaked atmosphere of the district of columbia.

  • Viktor Tkach

    The guy above who says this is paid Russia shit, May be you are watching lot of Fox news!

  • Lubomyr

    Viktor …you sound like you belong in the Soviet Union….go to Moscow and be happy with
    your cronies Putin and Medvedev.

    • Viktor Tkach

      I live in Chernivtsi (west ukraine) and I support Euromaidan, why should I go to Soviet Union? But this is not paid Russia shit. If this was paid Russia shit, then surveys would have been showing something else.

  • Robby Bobby

    In my opinion, I think Ukraine would be better off without the EU and Russia….just pure independence from all obligations…Iceland, Switzerland and Norway are doing very well without the EU and Ukraine may succeed in their paths if the people choose so….In any case,

  • Robby Bobby

    In my opinion, I think Ukraine would be better off without the EU and Russia….just pure independence from all obligations…Iceland, Switzerland and Norway are doing very well without the EU and so maybe Ukraine can succeed in their paths if the people choose so….In any case,

  • Yuri

    I’m from Zakarpattia(Uzhhorod) region and this is a little wrong. Most people support going to EU. Should be light orange at least. However, we’ve only been part of Ukraine since 1945, which is why many people aren’t as nationalistic here. Its green because Party of Regions took control(which I think they’ve been kicked out by now by the protesters).

  • Hitender Kumar

    It makes me sad that the Government has taken such harsh steps to curb the protests..