Ukrainians consider the rights and interests of citizens to be important, but at the same time they prefer a strong state and do not see timely and democratic elections as a priority after the suspension of martial law. However, since the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the russian federation, media consumption habits among Ukrainians have changed significantly: the majority get their news from online sources, in particular, social networks and messengers. This is evidenced by the data of a large-scale sociological study "Democracy, Rights and Freedoms of Citizens and Media Consumption in Conditions of War", which was conducted in July by Civil Network OPORA.

Taking the war into account, along with the desire to preserve the democratic state, Ukrainians have a request for a "strong hand". According to the data of the July sociological survey, 58% of respondents believe that a strong leader is the most important thing for Ukraine now; 79% think that the President should interfere in the activities of the parliament and the government (to strengthen defense); and 62% believe that even constructive criticism of the government is inadmissible during the war. Instead, 32% of respondents indicated that political competition should be maintained even now; 16% favor a clear division of powers; and 14% position themselves as supporters of the democratic system. At the same time, 41% believe that under no circumstances can the government break the law. If we combine these statements into a single index "Strong state / strong leadership vs democratic system and pluralism", then as a result, 64% of respondents prefer a strong state and leadership, and only 16% prioritize democracy and pluralism. The rest—20%—received an intermediate score, which indicates that their views are uncertain or contradictory.

Among all respondents, 48% believe that it is necessary to take into account the rights and interests of citizens, even if they differ from the interests of the state, and 40% of respondents advocated the priority of the interests of the state. 57% of respondents believe that during the war, the authorities should hold citizens accountable for "harmful" views for the state, while 37% are convinced that anyone should be able to publicly express their position without fear of persecution by the authorities. 47% of respondents support banning the activities of politicians and parties suspected of collaborating with russia on the first suspicion, even without legal evidence, and 46% believe that such a ban is possible only if there is reliable legal evidence.

Holding free and fair elections after the end of martial law is considered necessary by 40% of respondents, while for 52% this issue is less of a priority. Even among respondents who prefer democracy and pluralism, 43% consider this issue not a priority. At the same time, among supporters of a strong state / strong leadership, 39% insist on timely elections. As we can see, the holding of elections in the minds of citizens is weakly connected with their attitudes towards the "strong hand" or the priority of "democratic governance".

When it comes to bringing to criminal responsibility for cooperation with the occupiers, the opinions of the respondents wre different regarding different categories of the population. In particular, 69% of respondents believe that it is necessary to punish those who took leadership positions in the occupation administration. With regard to other categories, the situation is less clear-cut and depends on the context. For example, 66% believe that the doctors who agreed to provide medical care according to russian standards should not be prosecuted.

The July study confirms the conclusions of the OPORA's May survey on the specifics of media consumption by Ukrainians in wartime conditions—online information channels (especially Telegram and YouTube) are currently dominating, which indicates a radical transformation of the media landscape. Despite the criticism of online channels for sending fakes and disinformation, the public trusts the information published there quite strongly and notes a number of other advantages of online sources for themselves. According to the results of a telephone survey, 59% of respondents include social networks among the top 2 sources of information, while the telethon "United News" is included in this rating by 43%. Other sources of information for Ukrainians are communication with relatives/acquaintances (25%), news websites (25%), and television (beyond telethon)—19%. On the other hand, according to the results of the diary research, 48% of the time spent on the news is on social networks, and 34% is on television (another 11% is on news sites). Among users of social networks, 39% are subscribed to the official pages/channels of government bodies (half of them are subscribed to the President).

As for social networks, most of the respondents use Telegram (39% of those surveyed), and Facebook and YouTube are used a little less (24–26%, respectively). In addition, 20% of respondents included Viber in the top 2 networks. The daily research also shows that the top 3 social networks are Telegram, YouTube, and Facebook. At the same time, if we analyze the total time of news consumption in social networks, Telegram accounts for 41%, YouTube accounts for 37%, and Facebook accounts for only 12% (Viber accounts for 6%, and all other networks combined account for 3% ).

Among those who receive information on the Internet, 62% choose short videos, and 61% prefer short informative messages. According to the daily survey, most respondents prefer videos up to 15 minutes. The preference for short messages and videos correlates with the results of the diary study, which shows that users go to Telegram for news. This can be explained by the need to quickly receive current operational news, a convenient way of using the app (for example, via the phone) even when you are away from home (for example, in bomb shelters), as well as a concise format for presenting news in a rapidly changing situation.

At the same time, age is still a significant differentiating factor in the field of media consumption. Whereas among 18-29-year-olds 87% choose social networks, then among the 60+ age category, 34% talk about them, and most (61%) talk about "United News". Online is currently "losing" only among this age group. In addition, among young people, 54% are subscribed to official pages/channels, and among respondents aged 60+, only 6% read official publications.

Among the various sources of information, most respondents trust the "Unired News" telethon—57%. At the same time, only 6% do not trust it. In the conditional rating of trust, "United Newsi" is followed by Telegram channels (35% trust and 6% do not trust, and the rest of the respondents rated their trust as "average" or could not decide on an answer), other television (33% against 11%), news websites 27% vs. 8%) and YouTube channels (25% vs. 10%). In the case of Viber, the ratio is 20% trust to 13% distrust, in the case of Facebook—20% versus 12%. 54% of respondents have one or more favorite news sites where they view all the news every day, and another third of respondents (33%) regularly view the main news.

In a telephone survey with an open question about "opinion leaders", i.e., public figures whose messages the respondents follow, 29% named Volodymyr Zelensky, 14%—Oleksii Arestovych, and 12%—Oleg Zhdanov (in a diary study the respondents named tse same three persons the greatest influencers). Other "opinion leaders"are Valerii Zaluzhnyi (9%), Serhii Prytula (9%), Vitalii Kim (4%), Mykhailo Podoliak (4%), Oleksii Reznikov (3%), Dmytro Gordon (3%), Yurii Butusov (3%). At the same time, 44% of respondents spontaneously could not name any specific name.

13% of respondents to a telephone survey received information from some russian resource in the last 7 days. 3% of them watched russian TV channels, 11% read some online source. 89% explained this by the fact that they wanted to know the point of view of russians / how information is presented to them, and only 2% answered that they visited russian resources because of doubts about Ukrainian sources. According to the results of a diary study conducted before starting the diaries, 27% of respondents indicated that they used russian media for news during the last month. At the same time, according to the coding results, russian or pro-russian channels accounted for 4% of media consumption during the week.

For the respondents of the diary study, comprehensive, truthful, "unadorned" information about important events, which is quickly presented and accurately covers the facts, is a priority. At the same time, attachment to the personas of journalists is less important. There is also no particular interest in emotional relief and receiving reassuring information.

Respondents have rather varied and contradictory views on the role of the state in the media sphere. There is a noticeable demand for a tougher line (especially towards russian / pro-russian media) and an active role of the state. That is, the majority of Ukrainians (60%) want more state control over information on the Internet (30% do not share this opinion) and approve of the "United News" telethon as a method of forming a common opinion (65%, and 17% do not share this opinion). At the same time, a large part (60%) expects the mass media to be critical of the authorities, and also opposes the censorship of certain information. If we combine the answers into a single index, 45% of respondents rather support state regulation in the field of media, and 21%, on the contrary, emphasize the importance of pluralism. The rest (34%) have an uncertain or conflicting opinion on this issue.

The absolute majority of respondents are critical of both the pro-russian media in Ukraine (73% believe that measures should be taken against them, and only 13% consider it a political struggle) and the russian media themselves (only 16% said that they provide an alternative view for the balance, 77% of respondents believe that the information of the Ukrainian mass media is sufficient for the complete picture). This consensus can be traced among all categories of the population. A critical attitude towards russian and pro-russian mass media also exists among residents of the South/East, as well as among russian-speaking citizens.

At the same time, many Ukrainians are skeptical about their orientation in the information field. For example, 40% claim that due to a large number of sources, it is difficult for them to determine where the truth is (at the same time, 52% are sure that they can identify one or more liable sources). More than half (56%) place responsibility for the fight against fakes and disinformation on the state (35% on the citizens themselves).

Opinions of the respondents were also divided regarding the limitation of access to certain information: 57% believe that the mass media should honestly and completely convey information to the public, and 40% believe that not all information should be conveyed to the public.

The study was commissioned by the Civil Network OPORA and conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology in July 2022. It consisted of two parts: a diary survey and telephone interviews. 1,000 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except AR Crimea and certain districts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions occupied until February 24) took part in it. The survey was conducted among adults (aged 18 and over) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the limits controlled by the Ukrainian authorities until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories temporarily not under the control of the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions), as well as citizens who went abroad after February 24, 2022. The statistical sampling error (with a probability of 0.95 and taking into account the design effect of 1.1) does not exceed 3.4% for indicators close to 50%, 3.0% for indicators close to 25%, 2.1 % — for figures close to 10%. 100 respondents living in all regions of Ukraine (except the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and some districts of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which were occupied until February 24) were interviewed using the diary survey method. The field stage of the study lasted from July 6 to 15, 2022. The survey was conducted among adults (aged 18 and over) citizens of Ukraine who, at the time of the survey, lived on the territory of Ukraine (within the limits controlled by the Ukrainian authorities until February 24, 2022). The sample did not include residents of territories temporarily not under the control of the authorities of Ukraine until February 24, 2022 (AR Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, certain areas of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions), as well as citizens who went abroad after February 24, 2022. Proportional representation by gender was observed among the interviewees. At least 70% of respondents have higher education and are employed in various fields. Economically inactive groups are also represented. All participants are interested in events in Ukraine and abroad and consume news almost daily through various media. At least 30% of participants use russian to communicate at home.


For comments, contact:

Robert Lorian, [email protected],+38 095 571-10-66

The survey was made possible by the support of the American people, administered through the US Agency for International Development (USAID). Any opinions and statements expressed in the report do not necessarily reflect the positions of USAID and the US Government.