Press release №2122


  • 87% of Russians are aware of what happened in Kerch strait
  • A majority (93%) consider the Russian border control officers acted properly
  • 79% believe that the incident was a provocation

Russians primarily blame Ukraine for provoking the Kerch incident, whereas an overwhelming majority of respondents approve of Russia’s behavior.  

MOSCOW, December 5, 2018. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the data on what Russians think about the Kerch state conflict.

Eighty-seven percent of Russians are aware of the conflict between Ukraine and Russia in the Kerch strait.

An overwhelming majority of respondents (93%) consider that blockade of the passage of the Ukrainian ships through the strait was right.

Russians tend to think that the incident was a planned provocation by the Ukrainian government (79%), a Poroshenko’s attempt to retain power before the upcoming elections (30%). Every fifth (19%) says that the provocation was needed to trigger a war between Russia and Ukraine or it was another reason to accuse Russia of aggressive behavior (17%). However 7% believe that the Ukrainian government did not try to engineer a conflict.

Generally, respondents consider that Russia and Ukraine will eventually restore friendly and allied relations (43%) or at least will be able to normalize them (34%). Respondents think that the bilateral relations are hardly to deteriorate in the future (16%).

The VCIOM-Sputnik survey was conducted on November 27, 2018. The survey involved 1,600 Russians aged 18 and over. The survey was telephone-based and was carried out using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 1.8%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.


Do you hear that last Sunday a conflict between Ukrainian military vessels and Russian border guard happened in the Kerch strait? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)
  Total respondents 
I know, I heard about it 87
This is the first time I hear about that 13


In your opinion, did the Russian border guard act right or wrong blocking the passage of the Ukrainian ships?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of those who are aware of the incident)  
  % of those who are aware of the incident
Definitely right 70
Likely right 23
Likely wrong 2
Definitely wrong 1
Don’t know 4

Some people consider that the incident was a Ukrainian provocation. Others say that the Ukrainian authorities did not want a conflict with Russia. Which opinion do you agree with the most?  (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents)  
  Total respondents 
This was a Ukrainian provocation 79
Ukraine did not plan any conflict 7
Other 1
Don’t know 13

If you think that it was a Ukrainian provocation, what was the reason behind that provocation? (open-ended question, up to 3 answers, % of those who consider that the incident was a provocation)  
  % of those who consider the incident a provocation
Because of elections in Ukraine / Poroshenko eager to retain power 30
Provocation in response to Russian  actions / to start a war 19
Another accusation of Russian  aggressive behavior 17
It was commissioned by other countries/ to get assistance from other countries   9
Deterioration of relations between Russia and other countries   5
Imposition of martial law in Ukraine 4
To draw attention / to show their power and sovereignty 3
They want Crimea back / seizure of territory 3
To check the Russian army’s readiness   2
To distract people from internal problems   2
Ukraine’s political games 2
To harm Russia   2
Introduction of new sanctions against Russia   2
To blast the Crimean bridge   1
To create conflicts within Russia   1
To disrupt the Trump-Putin meeting 1
Other 2
Don’t know 16

In your opinion, what is the future of Russia-Ukraine relations? (closed-ended question, one answer, % of total respondents  
  Total respondents 
Friendly,  allied relations will sooner or later be restored 43
Relations will be normalized but they will never be friendly or brotherly as before   34
Relations will keep deteriorating 16
Don’t know 7
Note: Using materials from the site or, as well as distributed by VCIOM, the reference to the source (or hyperlink for the electronic media) is obligatory!
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