Russian independent poll: Odesa, Kharkiv not eager to join Russia

survey map


Political News

Article by: Kirill Mikhailov

Picture: “Novorossiya” as envisaged by pro-Kremlin blogger Fritzmorgen 

Almost since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine Kremlin-funded media has been preaching the idea of “Novorossiya” – a historical area allegedly colonized by Russian settlers and currently constituting the South-Eastern half of Ukraine. Nowadays, the propaganda dictates, the Russian-speaking citizens of the Ukrainian South-East yearn to overthrow the Kyiv yoke and join Russia.

Some could argue Putin’s failure to incite a pro-Russian rebellion beyond Donbas demonstrated that Novorossiya is but a propaganda myth, but no hard statistics has yet emerged to support or refute such claims. Until now.

Alexey Navalny, a Russian anti-corruption blogger and politician, has long been blaming Russian polling agencies for pro-Kremlin bias. During the 2013 Navalny’s campaign for Moscow mayor he launched a volunteer polling service of his own which yielded results much closer to the actual election figures than the “official” pollsters.


An infographic showing polling statistics compared to the election results (in darker color): Navalny’s poll is the rightmost

Navalny’s most recent poll was aimed (although not explicitly) to test the Novorossiya narrative against statistical facts. As the pollsters failed to get an adequate number of responses from the war-engulfed

Donetsk and Luhansk regions, they turned to Odesa and Kharkiv, the regions that are generally considered part of “Novorossiya” and that saw the most violent pro-Russian protests outside Donbas in spring.


Odesa and Kharkiv regions on the map of Ukraine

The results of the poll proved controversial both for the pro-Kremlin crowd and probably certain Ukrainian activists. While not particularly eager in supporting the new Western-oriented course of the Ukrainian government, the citizens of the South-East proved not so willing to be a part of Russia as Putin’s propaganda would lead one to believe.

No, thanks

According to the poll results, a referendum in Odesa and Kharkiv similar to the one in Scotland (not a mock one like those in Crimea or Donbas) could result in an overwhelming 87% in favor of remaining a part of Ukraine.


The idea of an independent Novorossiya attracts merely 2% of the inhabitants of the historical region. Moreover, even the very concept proves dubious for them:


Apart from being rather cold towards the concept of Novorossiya, the citizens of Odesa and Kharkiv regions bear no great love for Putin either:


The Russian government in general gets a less polarized opinion: 39% describe their attitude as negative and 6% as positive. At the same time 58% report their attitude to the Russian government has worsened during this year, while a mere 3% started regarding Russian authorities better.

The poll offers much more interesting statistics we will cover in later updates. But one thing is for certain: Novorossiya is definitely nothing but an ideological construct of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine.


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  • Fred Hernandez

    The same could be said of Crimea. If we take the 10-20 percent of the population who is Tatar, maybe 30 percent ethnic Ukrainians we would have almost 50 percent. And I am certain we would have at least 10 percent of ethnic Russians who never wanted to be a part of Russia. The results in a free and fail election would be the same as in Scotland.

    • disqus60

      Better yet, had Russian citizens not been allowed to vote in Crimea, nor had there been a psychological threat with Putins green army, the results would have been no doubt different.

  • Murf

    The real question is what are they willing to do to NOT be in Russia because Putin couldn’t give a rat’s ass what THEY want.

    • françois

      question is : JUST HOW do you resist 30 000 well armed and decided (rather indoctrinated and following an iron. discipline )
      remember how during the little green men’s invasion ‘ a few soldiers and even a navy officer was shot at blank point for maybe just raising his voice .
      as for me unfortunately ; tried to reach Ukraine thru Moldova once :next thing you know border offices ordered me out o’ the bus started telling me how they were at war with Europe!!
      I tried to tell them I was just an ole hippie; to which they answered with insults and threats to send me back to my ! I lost my temper and a guy just put his hand on his holster ..that settled it and a’ token o’ 50 bucks from me …. a weeks wage for those 2 assholes ! just to tell you: you just DON’T discuss with those guys ..just shoot!!

      • Murf

        When the dupted agitators start raising hell the people confront them i.n the streets
        When the little green men show up law enforcement do their jobs and not wait for a bribe or a pay raise and people don’t become human shields.
        When the goon squads appare the SBU and National Guard engages them and sends them packing.
        Had a hundred UA soldiers and citizens stood up in Crimea we wouldn’t be talking about the Donbas war.

  • Mat


  • Walter Salmaniw

    What planet do you live on?

  • disqus60

    You’re obviously a Russian. My question is when will Russia compensate Ukraine for the theft of Ukrainian assets, investment and infrastructure it has provided to Crimea?

  • Edison

    Trying to re-write history? As of last December reliable polling showed only a small 25-30% of Crimeans wanted to be ruled by another country, Russia wasn’t mentioned on the poll. “Good riddance”? Russians don’t talk like that. You must be an American with Russian roots, who didn’t finish high school. Take a look at some of the archived article in Crimean Isvestia for 2012-13. You won’t find any references to becoming independent or joining Russia. Aksyonov’s “Russian Unity” party got 4% in the 2010 elections, and that’s why there was almost no debate about it until Russia’s invasion and propaganda campaign, Aksyonov’s Russian-assisted armed coup in Simferopol, and Russian blockades of Ukrainian military bases.

  • Sam King

    Who conducted the poll, what was the method used and how many responded?
    Polls should have little value unless they are accompanied by the facts so they are respected as credible and impartial.