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Trust in Ukraine’s President increased three-fold in 2022; Army still most trusted institution – poll

Zelenskyy visits Ukrainian soldiers in Donetsk Oblast, December 2022. Source: Ukraine’s President official website
Trust in Ukraine’s President increased three-fold in 2022; Army still most trusted institution – poll
In December 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted an all-Ukrainian public opinion survey measuring the level of trust in social institutions. This year’s results have been compared with those obtained in December 2021. The trust in most social institutions increased drastically, with the Armed Forces of Ukraine being the most trusted institution. Remarkably, the trust in Ukraine’s President increased three-fold – from 27% to 84%.
The Armed Forces continue to be the most trusted in Ukraine, and over the last year (between December 2021 and December 2022), their trust level has increased from 72% to 96%.

The trust in the President of Ukraine increased drastically over the same period. In December 2021, less than one-third of Ukrainians (27%) trusted the President, but in a year the indicator increased to 84%. Regarding the volunteers – the third most trusted institution in Ukraine, – trust grew from 68% to 84%.

There is also a significant increase in trust in two other law enforcement structures on the list: trust in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) increased two-fold – from 29% to 63%; similarly, the trust in the National Police grew from 30% to 58%.

“The growth of trust in the political leadership and in the power structures in the conditions of war is another evidence of the unity of citizens in critical circumstances. Social cohesion is one of the key factors in successful resistance to the enemy,” Anton Hrushetskyi, the Deputy Director of KIIS comments on the survey’s results.

Formulation of the question in the questionnaire: Now I will name some social institutions. Tell me, please, how much you trust those whom I will name?

Scale of answers: Completely trust / Rather trust / Difficult to say / Rather do not trust / Not at all trust / REFUSAL TO ANSWER

Dynamics of trust in social institutions, % trust

The perception of the Government and Ukraine’s Parliament, Verkhovna Rada, has also significantly improved, increasing three-fold. Confidence in the Government increased from 14% to 52%. In the case of the Parliament, although overall trust indicators are not high, trust increased from 11% to 35%. Also, according to the results of the survey, Ukrainians began to trust ordinary people in their local community more – the trust index increased from 63% to 71%.

Confidence in the Ukrainian media increased from 32% to 57% over the past year, while distrust in the Russian mass has become even more pronounced. Only 3% trusted Russian media last December, and now the trust in them dropped to 1%.

Attitude towards the Church has slightly deteriorated: the share of those who trust the Church decreased from 51% to 44%.

This year, KIIS added two more institutions to the list that are more closely associated with ensuring the rule of law in the country – prosecutors and courts.

As it turned out, these are the institutions to which Ukrainians are most critical: only 25% trust the courts, while 34% do not (the rest have no definite attitude). 21% trust prosecutors, and 32% do not. In 2021, these institutions were not on the list.

However, in a 2018 KIIS survey, only 12% trusted the judicial system, and 78.5% did not. Most likely, there have also been marked improvements in attitudes towards courts and prosecutors compared to 2021, although considerable skepticism remains. This year KIIS also asked about the attitude towards internally displaced persons: a total of 52% of respondents trust them and only 10% do not trust them.

Dynamics of trust in social institutions, % trust-distrust balance

Hrushevskyi points out to the “significant backlog” of prosecutors and courts, towards whom many Ukrainians retain a distinctly skeptical attitude.

“Now it is an essential question for the prosecutors and courts themselves to be the locomotive of positive changes,” he adds. “It is also a matter for Ukrainian legislators and government officials to understand that after the victory, the demand for the rule of law and justice is only becoming more relevant, so it is necessary to act ‘in advance’ and solve problems now. Moreover, the attitude towards prosecutors and courts has softened significantly, which creates a window of opportunity to introduce the necessary changes.”

During December 4-27, 2022, the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) conducted its own all-Ukrainian public opinion survey “Omnibus”. By the method of computer-assisted telephone interviews (CATI) based on a random sample of mobile phone numbers (with random generation of phone numbers and subsequent statistical weighting), 995 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except the AR of Crimea) were interviewed. The survey was conducted with adult (aged 18 and older) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the boundaries controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories that were not temporarily controlled by the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain distructs of  Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts), and the survey was not conducted with citizens who left the country after February 24, 2022.
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