Ukrainian “Generation Z”: Attitudes and Values
BSSB.BE library.fes.de 29.03.2018
Danube Ukraine Ex-USSR
*The nationwide poll “Youth of Ukraine 2017” conducted by the New Europe Center and the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) in cooperation with the sociological company GfK Ukraine is one of the most comprehensive attempts to understand and assess the sentiments of Ukrainian youth
FEARS AND CONCERNS
- Issues as earning money and securing a decent quality of life are the primary concerns of young Ukrainians. Economic issues, i.e. the need to make a living are the primary concerns of young people in Ukraine. The level of income is a key priority in job search for 96% of young Ukrainians. According to participants of the focus groups, the financial indicator determines whether a country is good, i.e. the one that provides employment, social package, and opportunities to earn money. This position is not surprising, given that only 1% of respondents stated that they “can afford to buy whatever we need for a good living standard”.
One in five (21%) respondents admitted that they only have enough money to pay utility bills and buy food, while half of young Ukrainians (53%) have enough money to buy clothes and shoes, but not more expensive things like a TV or a refrigerator. • War and corruption are the greatest fears; however, young Ukrainians are willing to tolerate the latter. The major fears of Ukrainians are corruption (37%) and war in the region or in the world (36%), getting seriously ill (34%), and social injustice and unemployment (32%).
Accordingly, the top demand of Ukrainian youth for the government is fight against crime and corruption, as 70% of respondents believe that it should be the government’s number one priority. The second and third demands for the government are economic growth and development (68%), as well as reduction of unemployment (66%).
On the other hand, only one third of Ukrainians believe that bribery can never be justified. In this case, regional differences are also evident: while in the North, over 50% of respondents are critically negative toward bribery, the respective figures in Kyiv and the East of Ukraine are 19% and 15%. As one of the participants of the focus groups noted, corruption and bribery are present in the life of most Ukrainians since childhood, which leads to tolerance to this phenomenon.
ATTITUDES TOWARD POLITICS •
A(nti)pathy toward politics as a ground for national unity. Most young Ukrainians are disinterested in politics. Nonetheless, the highest rate of interest is in national-level politics, rather than local: those who are very interested or rather interested make up 13% of respondents. Being politically active is important for only one in five young Ukrainians. As for political leaders, the level of distrust toward them sets a record: they are strongly or relatively distrusted by three quarters of Ukrainian youth (74%).
TOLERANCE AND DISCRIMINATION •
Young Ukrainians show the lowest levels of tolerance toward drug addicts, exprisoners, Roma, and LGBT; however, 90% of respondents have never been discriminated against on any ground, except for their economic status and age.
Ukrainian “Generation Z”: Attitudes and Values 8 On the other hand, 90% of respondents have never experienced discrimination for political views, spoken language, sexual orientation, religion, social activity, or ethnic origin. Discrimination based on economic situation or age has been sometimes experienced by 16% and 13% of respondents respectively, while over 80% have never experienced it. Importantly, just 1% of the respondents chose the option “often” about the experience of discrimination based on all attributes included in the poll.
- Ukrainian is the preferred language for the relative majority of young people. Neither in the East, nor in the West do young people consider spoken language to be an obstacle to national unity. Overall, half of young people (50%) speak Ukrainian at home, while one third (30%) speak Russian, and one in five (18%) uses both Russian and Ukrainian.
- Beyond the family circle, this balance shifts towards bilingualism (25%). These results indicate that the portion of young people that use Ukrainian as the main spoken language is growing: in 2010, the rate of the use of Ukrainian language within the family circle was 30%, with 23% outside1.
- Furthermore, language does not stand in the way of national unity, as confirmed by both focus groups and the quantitative poll: only 5% of young Ukrainians have been ever discriminated based on their spoken 1 Diuk, N. Youth as an Agent for Change: the Next Generation in Ukraine. Demokratizatsiya. Spring 2013, Vol. 21 Issue 2, p. 189. language. It is noteworthy that 65% of young people believe that they have a comprehensive knowledge of the Ukrainian language (51% in the East and the South), while only 49% of young Ukrainians consider themselves proficient in Russian.
- Young Ukrainians like the European Union, but do not trust it. Most Ukrainian young people (60%) believe that Ukraine should join the European Union (according to almost a half of young Ukrainians, this would lead to economic development of Ukraine).
This is the opinion of an absolute majority in all regions, except for the South and the East, where this statement is supported by fewer people (42% and 33% respectively). Comparing Ukraine to the European Union via a range of indicators of political system and standard of living, young Ukrainians give the EU an advantage in everything, especially in terms of economic prosperity, where the gap between evaluations of Ukraine and the EU is 60%. On the other hand, only a third of young people (29%) trust the EU, while 28% do not trust, and 31% neither trust nor distrust; as the focus groups showed, this distrust is partially based on the belief that Ukraine is not wanted in the EU, and membership is considered a dream more than an achievable goal.
- The publication is not an editorial. It reflects solely the point of view and argumentation of the author. The publication is presented in the presentation. Start in the previous issue. The original is available at: fes.de