A new research shows improvement in the attitude of Russians towards Ukraine
After the election of Volodymyr Zelenskyi into Ukrainian presidential office and after easement of anti-ukrainian charges in Russian television, a number of Russian people that claim good relations with their western neighbour has increased. Currently it gets closer to the levels where it was before Russian annexe of Crimea in the spring of 2014. The results came from an independent research centre Levada and were published by magazine Vedomosti.
During the current round of research, 56 percent of respondents stated their positive attitude towards Ukraine, while since Spring 2014 the percentage share of likewise-thinking Russians did not cross the 40-percent border. Even in this February, good relations were mentioned by mere one third of people questioned.
The feeling of Russians to Ukraine has dramatically deteriorated in 2014 when pro-Russian president Viktor Janukovych fled Kiev due to opposition demonstrations and a new pro‑Western government took the power. Ukraine became a main target of sarcasm and criticism by Russian television channels.
Sociologists explain the current change of mindset with the election of a new Ukrainian president Zelenskyi, whose style appeals also to Russians, and with Putin’s remarks about future inevitable normalization of relations between countries. Putin has also directly asked televisions to stop putting Ukraine into excessively negative light. The interest of Russian state TVs has actually really reduced, according to the researchers.
“Nobody denies confrontational relations between regimes and elites of both countries, but the change of people in power in Kiev has created a certain window od opportunities and Russian officials decided, that Zelenskyi deserves a chance,” says Russian politologist Dmitri Badovskyi.