(Co-authored with Nadiya Kravets and Olga Onuch) As war continues to victimize Ukraine, various observers and participants have proposed a number of potential solutions to the conflict, ranging from greater regional autonomy to federalism to partial territorial breakup. While politicians are engaging in the most prominent debates and decision-making, the perceptions of Ukraine’s population will be central to the success of any such political solution. What exactly are the public’s perceptions and how subject have they been to change?
We address this question with data from a new survey that interviewed the same set of Ukrainian citizens three times during 2014. The chief finding is that despite the major costs of war, Ukrainians (even in the east) tend to agree strongly that Ukraine should remain undivided, with many (especially in the west) believing this is something worth fighting for. However, major divides exist on exactly what form this unity should take. Judging by public sentiment, issue-specific autonomy arrangements and some form of limited decentralization offer a much greater chance of eventually unifying the country than would sweeping reforms that invoke the term “federalism.”