October 11, 2012
According to the last poll conducted by Democratic Initiatives Foundation together with Oleksandr Razumkov Centre, about 44 % of Ukrainians are willing enter the EU and about 38% have a negative attitude to this idea. Of course, the question is very theoretical since Ukraine does not have membership perspectives. But the fact that only minority of the population wants join the block with so high level of life and democratic standards could seem as difficult to explain.
In the same time over 45% of Ukrainians are for integration with Russia’s Customs Union, while 35.7% are against. Those prospects are enough theoretical too since president Yanukovych and his team clearly against to share Ukraine with Kremlin – they want exploit it exclusively. But it is difficult to understand why almost half of the population want come back under ruling of Russia – authoritarian state with poor population and without any prospects for modernization.
So Ukrainians as a whole do not know where to go – to Europe or to Russia. Of course, there are number of possible explanations for this strange mood. It is said that Ukrainians do not aware sufficiently about the EU – but even those who never been in Europe knows that life in the EU is much better than in Ukraine or in Russia. It is indicative that the highest quality of goods and services in Ukraine often have prefix “euro” – for example “Eurorepair” when comes about accomodation There is no “Russian quality” as wider term to attract consumers.
It is also said that change of the generations is needed to break off with Soviet past and, correspondingly, with nostalgia for common inhabitation with Russia. But already more than 20 years Ukraine is independent state – it seems enough to be realists even for those who have spent significant part of their life in the USSR.
Finally, one more argument is that no presidents or governments in independent Ukraine really tried to advance country to Europe making pro-European reforms and promoting European values. Yes, it is the case and it is really important to have such kind of leadership for post-Soviet country like Ukraine. But in the same there was no strong demand for such leadership from Ukrainian society during all 20 years of independence.
But all above mentioned does not mean that EU should humble with the situation and stop to try approach “strange Ukrainians”. In contrary – it should be more open, close and understandable for the people in Ukraine. So far it is not the case, and it provokes many speculations about “closed” European doors and “widely open” doors to Russia.