The survey was conducted in November and December 2016 by the Centre for East European and International Studies (ZOiS).
2016 provides the first comparative data on the attitudes and identities of the people displaced by the war in Eastern Ukraine both within Ukraine and to Russia. The main results from this survey are:
* The vast majority of the internally and externally displaced had family members or friends living in the locations where they are currently based , and they remain in close contact with family members and friends in the war zone.
* A higher share of the displaced in Russia reports being in full -time employment; the mean income of the displaced in Russia is significantly higher than that of the internally displaced who report greater reliance on state support.
* The effect of war and displacement on personal identities has been mixed: an increased identification as “Ukrainian” or “Russian” is counterbalanced by an increase in mixed identities (“both Ukrainian and Russian”).
* The displaced are a politically interested gro up – about 40 per cent in Russia and 20 per cent in Ukraine report that they are more interested in politics now than three years ago.
* The political cleavage between the two groups of the displaced is most pronounced with regard to the status of occupied territories. Two thirds of the displaced in Russia see them as a part of Russia (with or without a special autonomy status), whereas for about 96 per cent of the displaced in Ukraine they are an integral part of Ukraine (a third envisages a special autonomy status).
* 45 per cent of the displaced inside Ukraine are against Ukraine’s EU membership (and 84 per cent of the displaced in Russia are opposed).
Read the full report (20 pages) at the weblink above or at the pdf attachment to this posting.
Gwendolyn Sasse is the author of 2002 book ‘Ethnicity and Territory in the Former Soviet Union’, listed here.
By summer 2016 the Ukrainian Ministry for Social Policy had registered close to 1.8 million internally displaced people (IDPs) inside Ukraine. About another one million have fled from the conflict zone to the Russian Federation.
Since 2015, Ukraine has been among the ten countries with the largest IDP population worldwide.
One finding that might come as a surprise to the Ukrainian and Russian authorities is that the majority of the displaced intend to stay where they are based at the moment – more so in Russia (about 80 per cent), but also in Ukraine (about 65 per cent).
The self-reported current mean income is higher among the displaced in Russia (€470, or $500, per month) compared to that of the internally displaced (IDPs) in Ukraine (about €160, or $170 per month). Average salaries have fluctuated significantly in Russia and Ukraine in recent years, but the mean income of the displaced in Russia roughly equals the average wage whereas the mean income of the IDPs falls below the average salary in Ukraine.
The discrepancy in the income levels of the displaced is, at least in part, linked to the fact that over 70 per cent of the displaced in Russia report a full-time work status, compared to 46 per cent of IDPs in Ukraine. Conversely, about 15 per cent of the internally displaced describe themselves as “temporarily out of work” or “looking for work”, compared to only about 2 per cent of the displaced in Russia.
Only 14 per cent of the respondents in Russia declare that they are receiving state support, compared to 66 per cent in Ukraine.
Asked generally, whether their identity has changed as a result of the events 2013 to 2016, just over 50 per cent said they felt “more Russian” now but interestingly, close to 30 per cent said they felt more strongly than before that they were “both Russian and Ukrainian”. Among the internally displaced, half the respondents reported an identity shift – and the other half did not. Just over 30 per cent of the IDPs stated that they now felt “more Ukrainian”, and 15 per cent felt more strongly that they were “both Ukrainian and Russian”.
Bilingual Russian-Ukrainian identities have remained strong, language does not equate with ethnicity, and linguistic identities have remained by and large unchanged by the experience of displacement.
A remarkable 70 per cent of the displaced in Russia and 50 per cent of the IDPs in Ukraine agree (“strongly” or “rather”) with the principles of the Minsk-2 [ceasefire and peace] agreement.
The economic preferences of the internally and externally displaced are very similar: the majority favours deepening the market system (59 and 54 per cent respectively), while roughly a third (30 and 34 per cent respectively) would prefer a return to the socialist system.
There is a marked difference in the trust the displaced have in “their” political leaders: an overwhelming majority of over 90 per cent of the respondents in Russia “generally” or “rather” trust the Russian president – a sharp contrast to only about a third of the IDPs in Ukraine trusting the Ukrainian president.