“Mental bases of choice”

13.03.2008

In the beginning of 2007 the Gorshenin Institute started the research program “Mental bases of choice”, aimed to understand, not who and what is chosen by Ukrainians, but why they choose.

Thank to this unique research program we tried to lift the curtain over “mysterious Ukrainian soul”.

“Mental bases of choice” – is not a dead project. These are the conclusions and figures that influence and work for forming of our future, influence the process of decision-making in our country.

Thank to our research program we established the indirect dialog between common citizens of Ukraine and the authority.

Main results of the researches

We can definitely say that Ukraine has established itself as a state and as society despite of many problems solving of which could allow of avoiding any speculations concerning this issue. But it is important to emphasize that not so much last fifteen years of independence made it possible to speak about Ukraine as a state and society in buoyant mood rather than whole history of the nation including existence as Soviet of USSR. It means that the basis of acknowledgement of Ukraine as one’s own state and feeling of the citizenship and patriotism is not the state independence obtained in 1991 (without blood and sweat) but identification of the people with Ukraine as their life space. Independence just appeared here having made people to react. And as a result of coincidence of this space, interests of those who live there with the state system of the territory it is taken as a matter of course. And namely because of this the problems with acknowledgement of Ukraine as one’s own state arise in those regions where this coincidence is absent (Crimea) or it is not entire (Donbass).

In life activity of the East and West population there are no controversies which could lead to a political confrontation. The basis of different political points of view and evaluations of people who live in the West and East of Ukraine is different attitude toward Russia. We can not eliminate this factor because of understandable reasons. It takes some time to ease the situation. It is important to emphasize that there is no confrontation “East-West” in Ukraine but there is predominance of certain political orientations in the certain regions. Political points of view of people who live in Kharkiv, Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk regions are fundamentally different. People who live in Transcarpathian and Galychyna regions react to the political situation in a different way. That is to say we can not talk about unity of views only on the basis of belonging of the citizens to one or another territory. And this is very important. Now to speak in political meaning about East and West means to speculate in known ethnical and other differences of these territories. Political parties, blocks and leaders speculating in these differences in slogans inherently contribute to the split of society but not to its unifying. And this happens when they have no arguments of socially useful kind.

Now in Ukraine there is no such majority of population which would strive for the European Union or CIS. Independent way of country’s development is the characteristic of the modal part of population. The only thing people of Ukraine wish is free movement through the territory of Russia and countries of European Union. This would satisfy the needs of those citizens who have ties of relationship in the former Soviet republics and those who try to earn more. It is interesting that the highest level of potential mobility (with departure for permanent stay to any Western place) is in Donbass. Could it be genetic peculiarity?

There is no middle class in Ukraine nowadays. Those who could be considered as the middle class according to financial status, education and professional occupation in the country make no more than 9%. (There are 15% of people who have sufficient financial status). The reason is banal: conditions for development of small and middle business were not created, when more than 40% of people would like to have their own business. The second reason is the low level of endowment of professionals who work in budget area. No middle class – no stability. No stability that is a dream of the most part of population – no middle class.

Corruption is flourishing in the country. Ukrainians take corruption as integral part of social life. The majority of Ukrainians happened to give bribes. Also Ukrainians are sure that corruption is widespread all over Ukraine. At the same time nobody expects anticorruption celebrated cases and arrests. Militia (police) and courts are the less trusted among the authority institutions and defense and law enforcement agencies. In Ukraine one can buy for money a court decision, relief from criminal responsibility and deputy mandate.

There is exigency to make the local authority dependent on population that is on the results of work. Nowadays local authority depends on elector only officially: with the presence of different political technologies the elector has passive role now. There are no effective key factors which could influence those who have the power. It is necessary to revise the election system and to bring back the majority election system at the local level of authority.

Preference of democratic transformations prevails in political views of Ukrainian population. At the same time about one third of population tends to choose authoritarian direction because of having no other experience. Corruption of the authority, illegality, increase of criminality and decrease of moral level in the society leads to the authoritarian way of thinking. Also poverty and insufficient education, that is dependence of the human on external forces and circumstances also leads to authoritarian way of thinking.

Despite of the number of unfavorable conclusions on the results of researches the situation is not so minor. Firstly we can see considerable potential of the society for development, which is limited by force of circumstances and maybe “bad guys” who use these circumstances in their personal purposes. But we can feel that the primitive robbing of people soon will be ended, and we will recollect this period of life with surprise and understanding of its inevitability.

The adaptation of the population to the market conditions slowly but comes. Those who relied on the help of the state before now change their opinion and try to rely on themselves, which is very important in market conditions. The number of very poor people is decreasing, psychology of people is changing and adapting to the new reality. It is important that those who only begin their professional life do not know other conditions, and that is why they have no such problems as the older people. It is important to understand that there was a revolution in social relations with obvious individual and collective losses and obvious reconstruction of the social organism. Now we need to clean our houses, to sweep, collect, throw out and obtain.

For more details download “Mental bases of choice” in .pdf

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