The March of Unity in Kyiv on 12 February 2022 only 12 days before Russia launched its full-scale military aggression against Ukraine. Credit: censor.net

The March of Unity in Kyiv on 12 February 2022 only 12 days before Russia launched its full-scale military aggression against Ukraine. Credit: censor.net 

Opinion, Ukraine

Ukrainians have changed more since Putin launched his full-scale aggression against Ukraine in February than they had in the previous 30 years, a development that has transformed their society but is one that Russians as yet have failed to recognize, according to Yevhen Golovakha, the director of the Institute of Sociology at the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences in Kyiv.

Related: Ukrainians love Duda and Johnson, want to join EU and NATO – opinion poll

In his words, “what Ukraine was not able to do in the course of the 30 years of its independent existence, the war has done.” It has changed the attitude of Ukrainians to their state, their society and their future.

Related: Ukrainians reject any concessions to Russia, blame Russian leaders and people for the war: opinion poll

Golovakha draws his conclusions by comparing the results of two polls his institute conducted, the first in November 2021 before the war and the second in the middle of May 2022 after the war had been going on almost two months:

 

  • In the first, 53 percent said that the standard of living in Ukraine was on the whole bad, but in the second, 62 percent said that it was satisfactory or even good, an increase in the positive despite all that they have suffered and a sign that Ukrainians today feel they have something to lose and thus something worth defending.
  • Similarly, before the war, 53 percent said Ukrainian life was characterized more by failures than by successes while in the second they were far more positive, with more than 60 percent saying that the successes equaled or exceeded the failures, the most positive evaluation ever.
  • And as far as the future of Ukraine is concerned, only 13 percent in November they were confident that the future would be better, while now 76 percent of Ukrainians say that things will improve.

This is “decisive,” Golovakha says. It means that Ukrainians see their country not only as viable but valuable, and this feeling is shared now by people in all parts of the country.

Related: Ukrainians hate Stalin, see the Russian aggression as a genocide: opinion poll

What this means, he continues, is that “Ukraine will be able to resist for a long time and serve as a model for the West of how one must struggle for one’s own country and one’s own values.” And powering that too is the fact that now “more than 90 percent” of Ukrainians have a more negative attitude toward Russians than they did earlier.

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