It’s difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on in Ukraine and what it all means — as Freddy has pointed out there’s a lot of hyperbole at the moment— but where is public opinion on the current situation?
There’s some interesting historic polling on where Ukrainians stand on more integration with Europe vs Russia. Ukraine’s ambassador to the European Union Kostyantyn Yeliseyev suggested in 2011 that business tycoons and politicians from the Russian-speaking Eastern regions are just as on board with more EU integration as those from western regions. Yeliseyev noted at the time ‘if any politician today in Ukraine declared himself to be against European integration, he would be politically dead’.
The situation is no longer as clear. Since December 2012, support for integration with the European Union rose to almost 60 per cent but has since dropped to 39 per cent. As the chart below shows, the last poll suggests that support for Ukraine’s accession to a Russia-led customs union has been slowly on the rise — and now roughly matches support for more EU integration:
How do people in the UK feel about the crisis? YouGov has released the first polling on Ukraine — half of those polled believe the situation between Russia and Ukraine is something that should concern Britain and the West, while a third believe it’s for those two parties to solve. Just 3 per cent said that their personal sympathies generally lie with Russia, compared to just over half whose sympathies are with Ukraine.
And how are the world leaders seen in light of this situation? Interestingly, Angela Merkel is seen as the strongest leader while David Cameron is the weakest: