Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
The head of the Ukrainian sociological group “Rating” Aleksey Antipovich stated that every sixth Ukrainian sympathises with the president of Russia Vladimir Putin and supports the restoration of Russian-Ukrainian relations.
“Thus, every sixth Ukrainian sympathises with Putin. This is mainly people from the Kiev-controlled part of Donbass, the East and South of the country,” said the expert.
In his opinion, the pro-Russian moods of about 16% of the residents of Ukraine can lead to a pro-Russian party gaining seats in the Verkhovna Rada. However, this isn’t enough for a pro-Russian leader to be nominated for the post of the Ukrainian president.
The well-known Ukrainian sociologist Evgeny Kopatko, who heads the “Research and Branding Group” company, commented to the Federal News Agency on the statement of his colleague. According to him, the level of sympathy for Vladimir Putin in Ukraine is much higher than what Antipovich stated.
“Everything depends on how the question is posed. If, for example, Ukrainians are asked which president is more effective — Putin or Petro Poroshenko, even those people who don’t sympathise with the Russian leader will say that he is better than the president of Ukraine. That’s why I am sure that the level of sympathy for Vladimir Putin among Ukrainians is much higher than the 16% that my colleague mentioned,” explained Evgeny Kopatko.
At the same time, the sociologist called not to connect these sympathies to the possibility of a pro-Russian party or a pro-Russian candidate entering the Ukrainian parliament as a result of presidential elections.
“There isn’t a pro-Russian party in Ukraine today, and any political force in the country adapts to the rhetoric that is heard in it. And in Ukraine this is anti-Russian propaganda, within the framework of which Russia is represented as the enemy, and Putin as the aggressor,” noted Evgeny Kopatko.
Therefore, according to him, as the polls show, people who express sympathy to the Russian president – for example, the inhabitants of the southeast of Ukraine – trust so-called opposition forces more.
“And we associate Yulia Tymoshenko, Vadim Rabinovich, and others with the opposition. And they would win in the southeast of Ukraine if elections took place now,” stated the sociologist.
According to Evgeny Kopatko, the chances of Poroshenko and his ruling party winning are now very small, thus the West, which influences Ukrainian politics, is interested in the rotation of the Ukrainian authorities.
“I.e., if an electoral campaign takes place — and there is no doubt that it will, because the ruling party understands the scantiness of its chances and can interfere in every possible way in the elections, Poroshenko will have very serious competition. But all of his competitors will be pro-Western, and not pro-Russian,” added the Ukrainian sociologist.
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