Press release №1833
17.03.2016
CRIMEA: TWO YEARS TOGETHER WITH RUSSIA

IN BRIEF

  • 95% of respondents assess the Crimea’s incorporation into Russian territory in a positive way, 79% mark improvements in the lives of the Crimeans
  • 82% believe that Crimea may become a world-class resort
  • Crimea is considered as a pretext for sanctions rather than a basic reason (75%)

Two years after Crimea’s accession, Russians still consider it as a right decision that meets national interests.

MOSCOW, March 17, 2016. Russian Public Opinion Research Centre (VCIOM) presents the data describing how Russians assess today the Crimea’s incorporation into Russia.

In the Russian mind, “Crimea” connotes seaside resorts (35%) and evokes mainly positive emotions (16%); Russians have the “Crimea is ours” attitude and treat the peninsula as a “Russian land” (37%).  Sevastopol is basically associated with the navy base (29%) and the Great Patriotic War (17%).

Most of Russians have positive attitudes towards new administrative units (Republic of Crimea and Sevastopol) (79%). An overwhelming majority of Russians appreciates the Crimean incorporation into Russia: 95% support this decision. Eighty-nine percent of Russians considered Crimea as Russia’s territory two years ago 89% (according to the results of the opinion poll conducted before the Crimea’s referendum on incorporation); today this share makes up 96% of Russians.

Three-quarters of Russians (79%) believe that Crimean incorporation was beneficial to the residents of peninsula. The living standards have increased, and economic policies are effective. The number of those who oppose this stance is small (3%); they often cite problems related to the Ukrainian power supplies.

Power cuts in Crimea and Sevastopol over the recent months drew a wide response: 82% of Russians have heard about that. At the same time, Russians (89%) think it is unacceptable to sign a power supply agreement stating that Crimea and Sevastopol are recognized as Ukraine’s territory. Only 6% of respondents support this idea.

By incorporating Crimea, Russia has been seen to defend its national interest (92%), and Western countries will have to accept the Crimea’s reunification with Russia (84%), according to Russian opinion. Every second (53%) agrees that Russia’s position in the international arena has even strengthened. Seventy-three percent of Russians believe that Crimea and Sevastopol play a key role in ensuring the defense capacity of the country. Besides, certain respondents think that Crimea may become a world-class resort in the near future (82%); 63% of Russians consider it as Russia’s best resort.

Most of Russians believe that Crimea’s reunification with Russia is only a pretext for introducing sanctions against Russia (75%), but not the main reason. They are opposed by 20% of Russians.

The Medialogia Company analysis suggests that a total of 3 million mentions devoted to Crimea were found in the Russian media in 2014 – 2016. Most of them were published in March 2014. The Crimean Supreme Council addressed Vladimir Putin with a request to incorporate the peninsula into Russia’s territory. The mass media also reported on the Crimean status referendum, and that Vladimir Putin signed the ratification act on Crimea’s accession.

The VCIOM opinion poll was conducted on March 12-16, 2016. The survey was based on the landline and mobile phone interviews using stratified two-base random sample (1600 respondents). The sample is designed according to the complete list of the telephone numbers operating in Russia. The sample units are weighted according to the probability of selection and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error does not exceed 2.5% with a 95% confidence interval. Russian media monitoring and analysis were carried out by the Medialogia Company using approximately 30700 sources such as television, radio, newspapers, magazines from January 2014 through February 2016. 
What associations do you have with the word “Crimea”?  (open-ended question, not more than three answers, %)
  Total respondents
Crimea is ours / it is back / Russian land 37
Sea / air / recreation / resort / health center / summer / beach / sun / south 35
Positive emotion / big joy 16
Conflict with Ukraine 8
Pride for Russia / Well done, Mr President 4
Navy base / Black Sea fleet 3
Negative connotations   2
Large investment in Crimea  / infusion of money 2
Artek / children summer camps 2
Polite / kind people / friendly people 2
Crisis / many problems (increased housing and utilities tariffs, taxes, decrease in salaries, price increase) 2
Many friends / acquaintances / Crimea relatives 2
Sevastopol / Sevastopol defense 1
Improvements in living standards 1
Fraternal people 1
Childhood memory / children 1
Second World War / City of Military Glory 1
Resort towns (Alushta, Yalta, Yevpatoria ) 1
I feel pity for people living in Crimea 1
Other 10
Don’t know 14
What are your associations when you hear the word “Sevastopol”? (open-ended question, not more than three answers, %)
  Total respondents
Navy  (city of sailors, port) 29
Hero-city 23
Battle for Sevastopol , Great Patriotic War, Second World War 17
Our city; I am glad it has become Russia’s territory 12
Resort 11
Pride 6
Positive 6
Beautiful city 4
Borders’ security, defense 2
Crimea 2
It is our history 2
Sightseeing 2
My friends and relatives live there 2
I feel pity for those people 1
I would like to go there 1
Crimea’s capital 1
Ukraine 1
Other 5
Don’t know 18
How would you describe your attitudes towards the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol: positive/negative/indifferent, or you have never thought of that? (close-ended question one answer, %)
  Total respondents Elementary (incomplete secondary) education Secondary education (school, vocational school) Specialized secondary education  (technical school) Incomplete higher (not less than three years in a higher education institute), higher  education
Positive 68 57 69 67 69
Rather positive 11 4 7 13 13
Indifferent 4 2 3 4 4
Rather  negative 0 0 0 1 1
Negative 1 2 0 2 0
It is difficult to tell; I have never thought 16 32 19 14 12
Don’t know 0 2 0 0 1
How do you perceive the reunification of Crimea and Sevastopol with Russia? (close-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents Moscow and St.Petersburg Million cities More than 500 ths 100–500 ths Less than 100 ths Rural area
Definitely positively 66 73 61 67 66 67 64
Rather positively 29 21 36 25 28 31 30
Rather negatively 2 3 1 5 3 0 2
Definitely negatively 1 1 1 0 1 1 2
Don’t know 2 2 1 3 2 1
Do you agree/disagree with the statements that Crimea is Russia? (close-ended question, one answer, %)
  III.2014 * III.2016
Yes, I agree 89 96
No, I do not agree 7 3
Don’t know 4 1

* Russian opinion poll involving 1600 persons in 130 settlements in 46 regions of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.5%. The topic of the survey was the Crimea referendum.

In your opinion, have the lives of the residents of Crimea and Sevastopol changed after the reunification with Russia? If yes, how have they changed – for the better or for the worse? (close-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents
For the better 79
For the worse 3
Not changed 6
Don’t know 12
You told that life had improved after Crimea had been incorporated into Russia’s territory. In your opinion, what exactly has changed? (open-ended question, any number of answers, % of those who marked improvements in the living standards)
  Total respondents
Positive changes in towns and districts  (better living) 27
Increase in living standards (increased pensions, salaries) 24
Effective economic policies 17
Reunification with Crimea (independent of Ukraine) 13
Social policy  (increase in benefits, help to retired persons) 9
Development of tourism ( (visa-free entry) 9
Increase in jobs 7
No war (peaceful skies) 5
Development of infrastructure (construction, reconstruction and recovery) 5
Housing and utilities sector (solution to power supply problems) 4
People got more freedom 4
No failures; there are some improvements 3
Care of children  (opening new kindergartens, school repairs)   3
Good performance of shops 3
Road and transport situation is positive  (roads are being built and fixed) 3
Stable political situation 3
Health services (hospital repairs, improvements in services’quality)   2
Recreational development 1
Police work improved; less crime 1
Russian language has become basic 1
Fleet return 1
Housing affordability increased 1
Efforts in the fight against corruption and bureaucracy has intensified 0
None 0
Other 10
Don’t know 12
Have you heard before / do you hear for the first time about power supply problems in Crimea and Sevastopol over the recent months? (close-ended question, one answer, %)
  Total respondents
Yes, I have heard 82
This is the first time I hear about that 18
Don’t know 0
Crimean electricity has long been supplied by Ukraine. Ukraine proposes to sign a power supply agreement upon condition that Crimea and Sevastopol are recognized as part of Ukrainian territory. Do you support sighing of this agreement under this condition? (close-ended question, one answer, %)
  31.XII.2015-01.I.2016* 16-17.I.2016** 12-14.III.2016
Yes, I support 6 6 6
No, I do not support 93 87 89
Don’t know 1 7 5

*The survey took place in the Crimean Federal District on 31.12.2015-01.01.2016. A total of 3025 persons were interviewed. The margin of error does not exceed 2.4%

** Russian opinion poll involved 1600 persons living in 130 settlements in 46 regions and republics of Russia. The margin of error does not exceed 3.5%

Do you agree with the following statements related to Crimea?   (close-ended question, one answer per each line, %)
  Rather agree Rather disagree Don’t know/I cannot assess
By incorporating Crimea into its territory, Russia can defend its own national interests 92 6 2
In the end, Western countries  will recognize Crimea’s incorporation into Russia 84 10 6
In the near future Crimea may become a world-class resort 82 15 3
Crimea and Sevastopol play a key role in ensuring the defense capacity of the country   73 19 8
The adoption of Christianity by Prince Vladimir in Chersonese was a crucial event in the Russian history   71 11 19
Crimea is the best Russian resort 63 25 12
The foundation of Russian self-consciousness was laid in Chersonese 58 21 21
After Crimea’ incorporation Russia’s position in the international arena has strengthened 53 34 12
Crimea is a top priority region to develop 48 46 6
Some people think that Western countries introduced political and economic sanctions against Russia due to Crimea’s incorporation. Others think that Crimea’s incorporation is nothing but a pretext for the sanctions that would have been introduced anyway. Which of these statements is closer to your point of view?   (close-ended question, one answer %)
  Total respondents Low income Income below average Average income Income above average High income
Western countries introduced political and economic sanctions due to the Crimea’s incorporation into Russia 20 28 26 21 17 13
Crimea’s incorporation into Russia was nothing but a pretext; sanctions would have been introduced anyway 75 68 68 75 80 79
Don’t know 5 4 6 4 3
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