October 07, 2022

Ukraine’s Resilience Transcends the Battlefield

Originally published in TIME

Ukraine has shocked the world by withstanding the February 2022 Russian invasion and then reversing it around Kyiv in April and Kharkiv in September. Ukrainian society has rallied in an equally remarkable way. A series of recent polls suggests that the war has actually increased [1] the Ukrainian people’s trust in their local and national government and largely want the international community to empower them and their government to rebuild their shattered country rather than to do it for them.

Ukraine confronted the Russian invasion on an already-weak footing. Economic challenges exacerbated by COVID held Ukrainians’ attention more than the Russian occupation of Crimea and Donbas or even the threat of Russian invasion in a July-August 2021 National Democratic Institute poll. Respondents had somewhat more trust in local government than in national government and its agencies, but little confidence in any.

A September 2022 Ipsos survey shows some of the ways in which Ukrainians have suffered from the invasion. Unemployment has risen across the country and especially in frontline cities. Ukrainians who have not been displaced have suffered significant income loss. Residents of cities at or near the frontlines suffer from serious degradation of essential services, including access to safe drinking water, hot water, and heat.

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[1] According to an annual study conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, trust in local and national government increased from 15% in August 2021 to 82% in August 2022. Kyiv International Institute of Sociology. Opportunities and Challenges Facing Ukraine’s Democratic Transition. Nationwide Survey. July 1-August 3, 2021. https://www.ndi.org/sites/default/files/July%202021%20_bi-annual%20survey%20-%20public.pd

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