Friday, March 14, 2014

Ukraine Crisis: Surveys Suggest Most Crimeans Oppose Joining Russia

Two surveys suggest most Crimeans don't want to join Russia.

The autonomous Ukrainian region is poised to vote on the question Sunday in a referendum hastily organized after thousands of Russian soldiers invaded Crimea in recent weeks.

International observers won't be present to monitor. The G-7 nations say they won't recognize the vote, calling it "deeply flawed."

In the latest poll, only 19 percent of residents of Ukraine's south, including Crimea, said they want Crimea to join Russia.

This, according to a survey of 2,000 people conducted March 1 to 7 by Kyiv-based Rating Group.

Seventy-nine percent want Crimea to remain in Ukraine.

The two million Crimeans make up 30 percent of the Ukrainian southern region's 6.7 million people.

What portion of Crimeans themselves support joining Russia? The survey doesn't say.

But if we assume that non-Crimeans in this region favour Crimea joining Russia in the same portion as residents in Ukraine's heavily Russian-speaking Donbass region (where 8 percent favour the idea), then we can extrapolate that about 45 percent of Crimeans support joining Russia.

Less than a majority -- and far from an overwhelming portion.

Majority of Crimeans Oppose Joining Russia: Second Poll

Another recent poll showed similar results.

Forty-one percent of Crimeans said they favoured joining Russia in a February survey for the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology.

Support for joining Russia fell to 33 percent in the eastern Ukrainian city of Donetsk and to 15 percent in Kharkiv, eastern Ukraine's largest city, while it was 12.5 percent nation-wide.

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