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Poll: Ukrainians’ trust in Zelenskyy declines to 62%, Zaluzhnyi still high

Criticism of Ukraine’s government increased compared to 2022. However, 59% of Ukrainians simultaneously trust both Ukraine’s President and Commander-in-Chief, realizing that unity is “vital to ensuring effective governance amid defending against Russia.”
Zelensky and Zaluzhny
The Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Valery Zaluzhnyi and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Credit: Front news Ukraine
Poll: Ukrainians’ trust in Zelenskyy declines to 62%, Zaluzhnyi still high

Criticism of Ukriane’s authorities has increased in Ukrainian society in December 2023, compared to December 2022, a poll conducted by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) shows.

Despite downward dynamics, President Zelenskyy retains the majority of public trust at 62% (down from 84% in December 2022). At the same time, 18% of respondents do not trust him (increased from 5% in December 2022)

“On the one hand, there is a significant decrease. On the other hand, it remains unambiguously positive with a significant predominance of those who trust the president compared to those who do not trust him,” KIIS said. 

Ukraine’s Armed Forces retain absolute public trust, both in December 2022 and now – 96% of Ukrainians trust them. In addition, 88% of Ukrainians trust the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Valeryi Zaluzhnyi, while 4% do not.

At the same time, 59% of Ukrainians trust both Zelenskyy and Zaluzhnyi. The share of Ukrainians with polarized views is relatively small. Only 14% trust Zaluzhnyi and at the same time do not trust Zelenskyy, and only 1% trust Zelenskyy but do not trust Zaluzhnyi, the survey showed.

Data from KIIS indicates a decline in Ukrainian citizens’ trust in various government institutions.

Trust in Ukraine’s Parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, has fallen to 15%, a decrease from the previous measure of 35% in December 2022. Meanwhile, the level of distrust has increased from 34% to 61%.

The Ukrainian public’s confidence in the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) has marginally diminished to 58% from 63% in December 2022, while the percentage of those who distrust the SBU is now at 16%. The police have seen a more notable decrease in trust, dropping from 58% to 41%, with distrust climbing from 14% to 29% over the same period.

The judiciary and prosecutorial system fare worse in public opinion, with trust at a mere 12% for courts and 9% for prosecutors. Conversely, distrust is high at 61% for courts and 64% for prosecutors.

However, volunteers continue to enjoy high levels of public trust at 84%, with only 3% expressing distrust, figures that remain largely unchanged since December 2022, according to the KIIS report.

Anton Hrushetskyi, the KIIS Executive Director, attributes the growing criticism and erosion of trust in government to unmet expectations for the year. He also pointed to concerns over the efficiency and transparency of government activities.

However, the KIIS Executive Director said that “criticism is not currently turning into demands for elections (the absolute majority is against any elections). The majority of Ukrainians retain confidence in the president, Hrushetskyi said and added that it is “necessary to maintain the manageability of state institutions during this difficult period and to conduct difficult negotiations with Western partners.”

“An essential result is that 59% of Ukrainians simultaneously trust both Ukraine’s president and the Commander-in-Chief. Ukrainians demand unity, and therefore the actions of individual government representatives to discredit the Commander-in-Chief cause sharp rejection in society,” Anton Hrushetskyi said.

The results of the International Republican Institute (IRI) poll, conducted in September 2023, showed that 96% of respondents support Ukraine’s Armed Forces, indicating they “approve” of the forces’ work, down slightly from 100% in April 2022. Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy scored second on the list, with 82% of respondents approving his performance.

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