Kyiv, Ukraine – IRI released a survey of Crimean public opinion today.  The poll, conducted November 5-December 4, 2009, is a comprehensive analysis of attitudes regarding the Crimean economic, social and political landscape.

Crimea is a distinct area of Ukraine, whose residents’ attitudes are influenced by their historical and cultural connection to Russia and tend to differ from residents in the rest of Ukraine.  Moreover, its ethnic composition further complicates the integration of Crimea into the wider social and political context of Ukraine.

Although most regions in Ukraine are divided on their approval for NATO membership, other surveys demonstrate that a majority of the Ukrainian population approves membership in the European Union (EU).  However, IRI’s survey shows that Crimean residents are split on the issue of EU membership for Ukraine, with 41 percent supporting, and 46 percent opposing.

The attitudes of Crimean residents towards Russia’s Black Sea Fleet in Sevastopol are very different than those in most other Ukrainian regions.  An overwhelming majority opposes the departure of the fleet from the port city of Sevastopol; 48 percent strongly disagree that the Black Sea Fleet should leave Sevastopol, 15 percent somewhat disagree, 11 percent somewhat agree, and 15 percent strongly agree with the fleet’s departure.

Attitudes toward the policy of Tatar land compensation differ greatly between ethnic groups.  Among ethnic Ukrainians living in Crimea, only six percent strongly agree with the policy.  Nine percent somewhat agree, 13 percent somewhat disagree, and a majority of 60 percent strongly disagree with the policy.  Among ethnic Russians, only four percent strongly agree, six percent somewhat agree, 12 percent somewhat disagree and a majority of 62 percent strongly disagree.  Among ethnic Tatars, an overwhelming majority of 69 percent strongly agree with the land compensation policy, 17 percent somewhat agree, and one percent somewhat disagrees with the policy.

The survey was IRI’s first Crimea-specific survey.  The goal of IRI’s survey research program is twofold – gauging public opinion and using this information in conjunction with IRI’s work in Crimea.

The randomly selected sample consists of 1,148 adult men and women from regions of Simferopol, Sevastopol and all rayons of Crimea.  The study was designed and analyzed by Baltic Surveys Ltd. / The Gallup Organization. The survey was fielded by GfK Ukraine under the supervision of IRI.  The margin of error for the regional sample will not exceed plus or minus 2.9 percent.

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