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Poll: Ukrainians' trust in Zelensky declines to 62%, trust in military, Zaluzhnyi remains high

by Nate Ostiller December 18, 2023 1:47 PM 2 min read
Zelensky visits media on December 12, 2023 in Washington, DC. (Paul Morigi/Getty Images)
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Public trust among Ukrainians in President Volodymyr Zelensky has declined over the past year, but an overwhelming majority of Ukrainians trust the military and its Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi, a poll by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology (KIIS) released on Dec. 18 found.

Trust in Zelensky declined to 62%, compared to 84% in December 2022. At the same, the percentage of those who said they do not trust Zelensky increased from 5% in December 2022 to  18% in the most recent poll.

Trust in Ukraine's civilian government as a whole declined to 26%, a drop from 52% recorded the previous year.

An overwhelming majority (96%) of respondents trust the military, a figure that has remained stable since December 2022. In addition, 88% said they trust Zaluzhnyi, who was not included in previous editions of the KIIS trust poll.

Trust in the court and prosecutors, already low in December 2022 (25% and 21%, respectively) further dropped to 12% and 9% respectively.

The poll comes amid a flow of reports about alleged discord between Zelensky and Zaluzhnyi, initially triggered by a feature published in the Economist in November, in which the general characterized the state of the war as a "stalemate."

Members of Zelensky's office publicly disagreed with the comments and criticized Zaluzhnyi, prompting speculation that the president and the general were in conflict.  

Anton Hrushetskyi, the executive director of KIIS, noted that 59% of respondents said they trust both Zaluzhnyi and Zelensky, which he argued represents a "demand (for) unity" among Ukrainians.

In contrast to the narrative promoted by certain sectors of society, Hrushetskyi said that the results indicate that Ukrainians largely reject the notion that Zelensky is untrustworthy compared to Zaluzhnyi.

Are Zelensky and his top general really in discord?
After successfully taking Ukraine through the initial stages of the all-out war, President Volodymyr Zelensky and Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi found themselves the country’s two most popular – and arguably, most important – people. And lately, they appear to be at the center of the country’…

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