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President Volodymyr Zelensky awards former Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhyni with the title of Hero of Ukraine and with the Golden Star award during a ceremony on Feb. 9, 2024. (Presidential Office)
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Trust in President Volodymyr Zelensky fell by around 5% following the dismissal of Valerii Zaluzhnyi on Feb. 8, a poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) released on Feb. 15 found.

Zelensky appointed Oleksandr Syrskyi as the new chief commander on Feb. 8, following months of speculation about a rift in Ukraine's leadership. Zaluzhnyi had led the country's military since July 2021.

A poll by KIIS in December 2023 showed that an overwhelming majority (72%) of Ukrainians said they would disapprove of Zaluzhnyi's resignation.

The December poll also found that Zaluzhnyi was the most trusted military leader at 92%, followed by the head of Ukraine's military intelligence, Kyrylo Budanov, at 60%.

The February poll showed that Zaluzhnyi and Budanov remain the most trusted figures amongst Ukrainians, at 94% and 66% respectively, followed by Zelensky in third place, with 65% of Ukrainians trusting him at the start of February. In December, the figure was 77%, according to KIIS.

"Immediately after the resignation of Zaluzhnyi, trust decreased by another 5 percentage points to 60%," KIIS said.

Zelensky's trust rating before the start of Russia's full-scale invasion in February 2022 was 37%, but then rose to 90% in May 2022, driven by a "rally around the flag" effect, KIIS noted.

The poll's respondents were 1,202 adults living across Ukraine, in territories not currently occupied by Russia. KIIS said that 874 interviews were conducted up to and including Feb. 8, "that is, before Zaluzhnyi's resignation," and the remaining 328 interviews were conducted after his resignation on Feb. 9 and 10.

Poll: 77% of Russians support war in Ukraine
The figures have stayed remarkably consistent throughout the war, polling data has shown. A poll released in November 2023 found that 75% of respondents supported the war.

Regarding the new Commander-in-Chief Syrskyi, 40% of respondents said they trust him, 21% do not trust him, and 4% are unsure. This figure is "practically unchanged" compared to December, KIIS said.

The poll also indicated that for the first time, more respondents said that current affairs in Ukraine are headed in the wrong direction than in the right direction.

In total, 46% of respondents said they believed that things in Ukraine are headed in the wrong direction, compared to 44% who said things are headed in the right direction.  

A similar survey conducted by the Razumkov Center on Jan. 19-25 showed that 41% of Ukrainians think the country is "moving in the right direction," and a slightly smaller figure of 38% believes the opposite.

KIIS noted that respondents in the west of Ukraine appeared to be more critical, with 55% saying things are headed in the wrong direction, against 35% who said things are headed in the right direction.

"It should be taken into account that the survey took place in a very 'hot' period, so it will be possible to talk about the crystallization of a certain attitude a little later, when the emotions of all participants have cooled down," said Anton Hrushetskyi, the executive director of KIIS.

"So far, against the background of these events, Zelenskyi has suffered the biggest losses in trust, but the majority of Ukrainians continue to trust him," Hrushetskyi said.

Poll: 26% of Ukrainian teenagers want to move abroad after finishing school
According to the poll, 53% of students want to stay in Ukraine after school, but 23% want to change their current place of residence. While 26% expressed they want to move abroad, the remaining 20% have not yet decided where to live.
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