Last weekend the Ukrainian newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnia published a large survey of more than 3,000 people in eight southern and eastern regions. Some of the results should comfort the country’s leaders: only 15% of respondents want to unite with Russia. Even in Donetsk and Luhansk (the easternmost and most thoroughly Russian-speaking regions), the figure is less than a third. The poll debunks Russia’s narrative of a desperate Russophone community in revolt against a nationalistic government in Kiev: some 77% oppose the armed separatists who have occupied public buildings in the region.
But while many southern and eastern Ukrainians may not support the separatists, neither do they support the government. Half of respondents consider the current, internationally recognised authorities to be illegitimate. In Donetsk and Luhansk, that figure rises to 70%.