Known History and Measured Public Opinion in Donbas

Russia’s unilateral action in Ukraine should be condemned, but the situation in Ukraine is more complicated than our media as well as Russian media portray it, regarding the history and public opinion. Someone sent the following academic study to me and it’s worth reading.

After reading it I was convinced that all the major players share some blame and that a majority of the people who live in the Donbas seem to want some form of autonomy from or within Ukraine, but only a minority want incorporation into Russia. Unfortunately, that option is not, at least initially, going to be pursued by the major players.

It also seems foolish for the Russians to want to separate the parts of Ukraine where they have the most sympathy because that means the rest of the country is where they have the least.

Don’t we have enough threads on the topic already?

No one is required to read anything, but if you take the time to read this article, one which seems about as scholarly and not ideologically driven as is possible, your understanding of the entire history of the conflict and measured public opinion…at least as it was during the early period…will deepen. But, perhaps that is not a goal you have.

It’s best when a thread has an argument, perhaps inspired/provoked/supported by a published piece.

And how realistic is a lengthy discussion of this one article on this one aspect of this one crisis? I’m glad to have the resource, but that’s what it is, just one more thing to maybe read.

The “argument” is that there is an absence of a detached scholarly appraisal of the situation and that one should be welcomed.

Keep going. You’re almost there. They don’t want to separate the parts of Ukraine where they have the most sympathy because Putin has never cared even a little what Ukrainians think or want. The occupied regions are just a convenient pretext and staging ground for doing what he wants to do, which is to either take Ukraine by force or destroy it. It actually isn’t a complicated or nuanced situation at all.

Indeed. While I certainly enjoy historical analysis of events, in my book this is pretty cut and dry – an invasion of a sovereign nation’s border. It may have been going on for a long time but that does not change the fact that even Russia recognized the border in the not so distant past.

We can do nuance all we want and play games with what happened 700 years ago, but this was a border accepted by the international community that is being violated currently.

When the cops walk into a room and see a woman being raped, has it ever been a defense for the rapist to say, “I have been doing this for years, how is this any different?”

That might be his preference, but he may realize that is something he might have a great deal of trouble accomplishing.

At least you’re doing your part to help

All I can suggest is reading the article. Putin is Putin, but the article provides data on public opinion inside Donbas which suggests most people want some form of autonomy within or apart from Ukraine. Only about 9 percent want the status quo and about 23 percent want incorporation into another state–which would be Russia. Most want neither. The polls was taken when all the problems began, but it probably still reflects sentiment: a plague on both your houses.

Seriously. I’ve played games of Civilization 6 with more nuance than this. Come to think of it, the AI tends to use about the same aggro strategy too. Put your entire army on the border of your closest neighbor and then cry about them being too close for a while, refuse to be appeased, before coming up with a fake casus belli and launching an unprovoked attack.

How is that? By looking at the complexity—what people say they want in polls as opposed to what both Putin and the Ukrainian government want them to want and claim they want. I am not supporting Putin’s actions.

Yeah, I would expect that to be my sentiment too if I was at risk of getting shelled on a daily basis. That doesn’t change who the aggressor is.

What did the polls say about being slaughtered? Were they into that idea?

Why don’t you read the article and tell me where it misrepresents public opinion. I’m sure most people there are disgusted with both sides. That’s what the polling would predict. But, apparently, based on what exactly, you seem to think you have a perfect understanding of public opinion in Donbas.

I’m not defending Putin’s actions at all. But the history of the conflict–unless you know better than the author–suggests all players were self-serving.

Are you trying to “both sides” a democratically elected government and an illegal invasion and occupation? You are absolutely defending Putin’s actions, however much you say you aren’t. There is no magic article that is going to make this less of an unprovoked attack on a sovereign state.

The status quo is a wrecked economy, no investment, public goods like roads and buildings being destroyed by low-level warfare and neglect. Is it a surprise no one votes for that?

23% want incorporation into another state (Russia). That means 77% want the separatist movement to end and to be a normal part of Ukraine again, with peace. That’s a pretty large majority.

And that ~20% who took the offer of Russian citizenship have already been forcibly “evacuated” to Russia, along with a bunch of Ukrainian orphans. Actually, yeah, I would love to see some opinion polling in the Donbas right now, let’s get Nate Silver a flak jacket and a helmet.