Nearly every fourth citizen of Ukraine visited countries that are now EU members, the U.S. or Canada, according to nationwide opinion poll of the Democratic Initiatives Foundation in cooperation with the Razumkov Centre.
22.5% of respondents said they had been to the states of European Union and North America.
Three years ago – in December 2009 – the number was much lower – 14%.
Those who saw the civilized western world with their own eyes were mostly inhabitants of Western Ukraine (38%). That was predictable as “Westerners” live closer to EU than other Ukrainians and a lot of them is working abroad..
Residents of other regions of Ukraine aren’t so familiar with the EU – Western countries were visited by 19% people who live at Center, 18% from South and 19% from East of the country.
Most people who visited countries of EU, the U.S. and Canada are in their 30’s (29%) and 40’s (28%).
Taking into account political sympathies, most of abroad travelers support nationalist “Svoboda” (Freedom) party (37%) and least are Communist Party suppoters (10%).
The sociologists also found out the geopolitical choice of Ukrainian people. Almost a half is supporters of European Union.
In December 2012, 48% of respondents believed that Ukraine should join the EU (against 29% who didn’t like such way).
40% of respondents said they want Ukraine to join the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan (compared to 37% who are against).
The European choice of people contradicts pro-Russian policy of Ukrainian authorities led by President Viktor Yanukovych.
At the same time only 15% of respondents consider Ukraine should join NATO (against 60%).
After they were asked the alternative formulation of the question,”In what direction should Ukraine integrate: join the EU, the Customs Union or none?” 42% of respondents prefer EU, 32% – the Customs Union, 10.5% believe that Ukraine shouldn’t not join any of these organizations.
The number of European integration of Ukraine supporters for only six months of 2012 (from August) increased by more than 6%.
Choosing the path of integration varies by region: in the West (65%) and Centre (50%), people definitely prefer joining the EU, and residents of South (50%) and Eastern Ukraine (48.5%) choose the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.
The Democratic Initiatives Foundation and Razumkov Center interviewed 2,009 adult respondents aged 18+ in all regions of Ukraine with a sample of the adult population of Ukraine for key socio-demographic indicators. Interviews were conducted on 21-24 December 2012.
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