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Poll: Vast majority of Ukrainians against Russian as official or state language

by Elsa Court and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 12, 2024 7:34 PM 2 min read
Ukrainian cadets and children dressed in Ukrainian ethnic costumes hold a 20-meter long flag of Ukraine signed by servicemen and children on the Unity Day of Ukraine in front of the Lviv Theatre of Opera and Ballet in Lviv on Jan. 21, 2024. (Les Kasyanov/Global Images Ukraine via Getty Images)
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Ukrainians are widely opposed to the use of the Russian language in official settings, with 81% against Russian being used as an official language in their region or as a state language, a poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) released on March 12 found.

The poll reflects changes in Ukrainians' perception of the Russian language outside the domestic sphere since the start of the full-scale invasion in February 2022.

KIIS noted that in 2019, just 8% of Ukrainians said that Russian should not be taught in schools, but this figure rose to 52% in 2023.

The survey on the use of Russian in official settings showed that 7% of Ukrainians would support Russian becoming a language used in official settings in their region.

According to the poll, just 3% of Ukrainians would like to see Russian made the second state language of Ukraine.

KIIS said that 40% of residents in the east of Ukraine, a region that tends to have more Russian-speaking inhabitants, are against the use of the Russian language in official communication in Ukraine, a steep rise from 3% in 2015.

At the same time, the figure of those in the east of Ukraine who support Russian being made a state language has fallen from 31% to 6%.

Anton Hrushetskyi, the executive director of KIIS, noted that in the 1990s and early 2000s, "the Ukrainian language was associated by many as the language of older people and people from rural areas."

"Now we see that it is the youngest Ukrainians who insist the most on the unified state and official status of the Ukrainian language," Hrushetskyi said.

The research was carried out by phone in February 2024 and had 1,052 respondents, who were adults living across Ukraine, other than in areas under Russian occupation.

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