sociological view

Doctor of Sociological Sciences, Professor, Expert at Strategic Group Sofia

head of project - Yermolaiev Andrij

«People are constantly chasing visions that arise in their heads. But for some reason, they chase them not inside the head, where these visions arise, but in the real physical world, on which the visions are imposed. And then, when the visions dissipate, the person stops and says - oh, mother, what was that? Where am I and why am I and what do I do now? And this happens regularly not only with people, but also with entire civilisations. To live among illusions is as natural for a person as it is for a grasshopper to sit in the grass.»
V.Pelevin «Empire V»
november 2020
Ukraine has entered its thirtieth year of existence as an independent state in a modern world. During the years that has passed since 1991 the citizens have elected 6 presidents and 8 parliaments, participated in the local elections 6 times. A plethora of political upheavals, economic and cultural revolution took place, the ruling ideology and the type of ownership has changed.

The ones who follow the media could see the two celebrations in the countries' capital on 24th of August took place, divided both by leadership and the way of events understanding. On a hundred meters distance two Ukraines demonstrated themselves - «peaceful» and «fighting».

A festive 'Musical independence' concert after the current Ukraine's President V.Zelenskiy speech, was in a striking contrast with a march under «Independence is not a joke» slogan, where the former President P.Poroshenko was a key figure. During the celebration one of the central subway stations -«Khreschatyk»- had to be closed, and more than 150 passengers had to be evacuated from the airport «Kyiv» after authorities received a message that the places are mined. Explosives haven't been found. Severe discussions and outrage by the inappropriate concert instead of a military parade took place on social media and other resources.

The celebrations passed, parade discussions faded and now it makes sense to pay attention to some outcomes that the country has reached envisioned in the heads of the people inhabiting it.

The realities of the created by the past times society are reflected in different manifestations- in statistics, in peoples replies in different sociological surveys, provided by analytical centres.

Processes of domestic and political lives in comparison to 1991 are characterised by the following data.(1.)

As of late 2019 the shadow economy part in the GDP was 28%.
I. Sociology in numbers
The changes that happened in the economy were reflected in people's relationships, influenced the nature of the the social processes, which sum up to the modern Ukraine itself. Symbolically the changes in the country can be seen during the national holiday, Independence Day, celebration. Hence in order to analyse a summarising outlook on the country's life we see fit to refer to the public opinion research, held in conjunction with this date and dedicated to problems around it.

  1. What is Ukraine citizen's attitude to the USSR collapse in 2020?

The results of Kiev International Institute of Sociology research «Soviet past assessment: May 2020» dedicated to the 29th Independence anniversary showed that (2.) half of the Ukrainians (50%) do not regret the collapse of the USSR, while 33,5% do regret it. 35% of respondents think that Ukraine benefited from being a part of the USSR more than suffered (in 2013 the number was 48%), the ones who consider that Ukraine was more harmed than benefited constitute 28% ( 18% in 2013). According to data provided by The Foundation of Democratic Initiative of I. Kucheriv in April 2020 under « Sixth year of decommunisation: results and prognosis» research (3.) 32% are positive about the communist symbols ban, the same number is negative, 34% are neutral. The majority of positive votes are in the West (45%), nearly double less in the South (22%) and East (24%). Both studies show that younger respondents show positive or neutral attitude towards the USSR collapse, while older - negative.

Every third respondent has a negative attitude towards this event.

2. Would the citizens support the Independence act today?

According to the survey conducted by «Social Monitoring» centre (4.) at the beginning of August 2020, if the referendum for national independence of Ukraine was held today, 71,7% would support the independence, 12,2% would vote against. The results of the survey «Opinions and outlooks of Ukraine's population, August 2020» by Sociological group «Rating» show that 81% would vote for independence given such a choice today. 15% have an opposite opinion, 4% preferred not to answer. The majority of the supporters are in the West (90%). 87% in the Central part, 72% in the South, 68% in the East. The majority of opposing are in the South-East (23-24%). Also there are relatively more people who would oppose the independence amongst older generation and poor population.

Considering that in 1991 90% of citizens voted for independence, the level of support of this act remained the same after 29 years. Also a highly differentiated attitude amongst regions and ages exists, the united position on the state matters still has not been established.

3. How do citizens assess its first, historically long period of existence as an independent state?

In a nation-wide sociological study «Ukraine-29. Where are we going?»(7.) conducted by «Democratic initiatives» Foundation in association with Razumkov Centre the respondents answered the question «what prevailed: positive or negative» during independence years differently. Nearly a quarter think that positive outweighs, the same percentage voted for negative, while 40% think that there was as much positive as negative. A relative majority is optimistic - 40% think that living conditions in Ukraine will improve in the next 20-30 years, a quarter thinks that the situation will not change a lot, 16% - that life will get worse. Same as in different questions, the youth is more optimistic about country's perspectives.

According to the data of «Social monitoring» provided above nearly a half of respondents (49,7%), evaluating the years of Ukraine's independence, replied that «there was as much positive as negative», 24,1% think that positive prevailed, 17,1% voted for negative.

The study showed that 18,7% think that they and their families did not benefit from independence, 38,9% are in the middle ground, 27,2% think they did benefit.

There is no definite evaluation of the first independence period - every second person's assessment is neither negative nor positive, every fifth has a negative attitude, and every fifth at the same time considers themselves happy with independence. The numbers are very different in different regions and amongst different ages - the youth is more positive, older generation is more negative, the West think they benefited while the East is less optimistic.

4. What exactly do citizens consider to be achievements over the past years?

The highest achievement over the independence years is considered to be a visa waiver for Ukraine by the European Union - 14,7%. 8,7 % think that it is freedom of the country, independence, sovereignty, the same amount - language development, national culture, 6,7% - independence of the Ukrainian church, 6,2%-movement towards the EU and NATO. Freedoms and rights, the ability to buy anything is considered to be an achievement by 5,7%, the civil society, consciousness, democracy, freedom of elections by 4,9%, revolutions and «Maydan» -3,5%, army restoration -3,1%, sports achievements, European championship - 2,7%, patriotism, self recognition as Ukrainians- 2,2%, private property and economic activities freedom - 1,3%, big possibilities, hope, better life - 1,2%, Constitution adoption -1,2%.

The study shows that for Ukrainians the meaning of independence primarily lies in personal economic possibilities and state building.

5. How do people of Ukraine perceive the created state?

According to the results of the above-mentioned survey conducted by the «Social Monitoring» Centre in early August 2020 almost half of Ukrainians do not consider their country an independent state - 48.6% believe that Ukraine is not a truly independent state. The opposite point of view is held by 40.5% of the respondents.

At the same time, only 7.4% of those polled consider the President of Ukraine to be completely independent of the influence of other countries and organisations. 40.2% consider the president to be completely dependent on the influence of other countries and organisations, more than half of them (52.1%) assess this influence as harmful. Answering the question about the dependence of the Ukrainian economy on external influences, 43.2% of respondents agreed with the statement that the Ukrainian government in its economic policy is completely dependent on the influence of other countries and organisations, another 44.1% recognise this influence as partial, and only 5, 9% believe that the Ukrainian government is completely independent in its economic policy.

The aforementioned nationwide sociological study "Ukraine - 29. Where are we and where are we going?" shows that the majority (59%) are convinced that the country is developing in the wrong direction. Only 19% have the opposite opinion. Researchers interpreted this as a traditional surge in the mood of the people and associated with the election of a new president.
There are visible differences depending on the age of the respondents - the younger they are, the more positive their assessments of the situation in the country - among young people the level of positive assessments is 33%, and among those over 60 - only 11%.

According to the data of the same sociological centre, obtained as a result of the study "Half a year in a pandemic: what has changed in the mood and electoral preferences of Ukrainians", conducted in July 2020, 21.5% of respondents answered that events in Ukraine are developing in the right direction and 60% - wrong. The dynamics of the assessments is as follows:
According to the June survey of "Social Monitoring" 69.9% answered that the country is developing in the wrong direction. Compared to December 2019 (45.3%), this indicator increased by 24.6%! Most of the support for what is happening in the country is coming from the central (35.1%), southern (32.0%) and eastern (33.8%) regions of the country, and least of all - from Donbass (81.5%) and the western (78 , 2%) regions. The polarisation of the of the most radical-minded regions' population, their alienation from the current course of power is evident.

When asked about three to five main problems that bother them personally, 95% of the respondents named a low standard of living, 32% - employment issues and unemployment. The war in the East and the return of Crimea personally worries every third person - 28%, as well as the economic crisis - 27%. Somewhat less worried about the coronavirus pandemic and quarantine - 22%, and medical reform. Only 14% are worried about corruption and nepotism, and the weakness of the authorities - 13%. Almost every tenth person (9%) is personally concerned about social injustice and insecurity. Issues such as education (8%), environmental problems (5%), the health of one's and loved ones (5%), political situation, integrity, freedom of speech (4%), youth emigration (3%), crime (2%), pension reform (1%) personally bother almost nobody!

At the same time, according to the data of the same study, the "most important" problems of the country are now considered the solution of the armed conflict in the East - 73%, the economic decline - 73%, the rise in prices and inflation - 72%, the growth of utility tariffs - 72%, lack of work and unemployment - 67%, the enrichment of the oligarchs and the impoverishment of ordinary people - 58%, the increase in taxes and fees - 53%, social injustice - 52%, the problems of the depreciation of housing and communal services - 51%, the state of the environment and the surrounding space - 48%, the quality and pace of reforms implementation in the country - 51%, dependence on external management - 46%, emigration of Ukrainians abroad, labor migration - 41%, relations between Ukraine and the Russian Federation - 41%, the state of democracy and political freedoms in the country - 34%, demographic crisis - 34 %, return of Crimea - 32%, resumption of mutually beneficial trade and economic relations with the Russian Federation - 31%.

At the same time, according to various studies, every second or more of the respondents (from 50% - 69.9%) believe that the country is developing in the wrong direction. Half of the citizens see their country as dependent on the influence of other countries and organisations - primarily economically, and consider this situation harmful. Meanwhile, this situation if fine with every fifth person. But dependence on external management as a "very important" problem for Ukraine is seen by 46% of the respondents. Corruption and the weakness of the authorities do not bother the majority, with the exception of 13%, but 51% consider the problem of the quality and pace of reforms implementation in the country to be "very important". Only 5% personally care about environmental problems, while 51% see them as a very important problem for the country. 73% of the respondents see the solution of the armed conflict in the East as "very important", but at the same time 28% are worried personally.

The views of the population on problems of a personal and social nature intersect mainly in the economic sphere of life, social problems are not perceived as affecting them on a personal level.

6. What are the main differences in views on the current course of development of the country?

According to the vision of the direction of cooperation and integration with external partners.

According to a poll conducted by KIIS on April 26-30, 41.6% of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine should aim for membership in the EU, 13.1% - in the Eurasian Economic Community, 28.3% - for not joining any union. 41.6% of Ukrainians believe that Ukraine should strive to join NATO, 34.7% - for neutrality, 12% would like to see Ukraine in the CSTO. Compared to the polls of the «Rating» agency, support for the "western vector" since December 2019 decreased - then, according to his data, 60% of Ukrainians supported Ukraine's accession with the EU and 52% - with NATO, and according to a nationwide study by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation and the Razumkov Center in December 2019 over 64% of Ukrainians believed that Ukraine should integrate into the EU and over 51% supported joining NATO.

At the same time, support for EU membership significantly differs by region of the country - West - 64.5%, Centre - 52%, South - 33.3%, East - 26.9%, Donbass - 19.5%. Support for joining NATO is also different - West - 61.6%, Centre - 46%, South - 27.3%, East - 24.5%, Donbass - 16.7%. Note that both of these goals are included in the Constitution of Ukraine and have not been challenged in the prevailing political discourse for more than 6 years

On peace and war in Donbass.

Most Ukrainians want to fully restore ties with Donbass. According to the data received by KIIS in August, 53% of the residents of the territory controlled by Ukraine want to restore transport links with the DPR and LPR, as well as connections with the population of the region. At the same time, about 23% of the respondents are in favour of maintaining the current situation, and 8% support the complete blockade of the Donbass territory not controlled by Ukraine. 55% of Ukrainians perceive Donbass residents as victims of the conflict in need of Ukraine's comprehensive support, but 19% of respondents answered that they did not consider Donbass residents in need of Ukrainian support and 11% of respondents were sure that the Ukrainian government should not support the population of the DPR and LPR.

According to a survey conducted from 3 to 9 July 2020 by Ilko Kucheriv Foundation "Democratic Initiatives», supporters and opponents of granting the occupied Donbass "special status" in Ukraine are practically equal. 20% believe that any compromise can be made for the sake of peace, almost half - some compromise. 26.7% of respondents said they support the idea of granting the occupied Donbass a "special status". Another 6.9% of Ukrainians are ready to support such a decision if it is approved by a politician or party they trust. 26.8% of those who took part in the survey believe that Selected areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions should not have any special status. 15.5% agree to a "special status" if the Constitution and laws of Ukraine are restored in the region, 9.2% - if peacekeepers are introduced to Donbass. Sociological studies traditionally show that the farther from the zone of an armed conflict, the fewer supporters of its resolution through peaceful negotiations, by granting the Donbass a special status.
II. Sociology «after the numbers».
According to the established tradition, sociological research is perceived by the mass consciousness as digital data designed to demonstrate certain political trends in the country. Sociological empirical research, as a very specific sphere of mass communication, has long become an effective part of the mechanism of political campaigns, since it allows, using the "magic of numbers", to legitimise political figures, decisions, processes. Research of a different kind does not cause such resonance and attention in the communicative space of the country; it remains the knowledge of individual groups of specialists.

It should be noted that Ukraine has not conducted a population census for 19 years, knowledge about the structure of today's society is created on the basis of various kinds of secondary data collected by various statistics. Empirical research, therefore, is conducted on the basis of models that are well-established and have shown their relevance mainly in relation to forecasting political processes.

In the mass consciousness, the results of sociological research are largely associated with media campaigns aimed at the establishment of socio-political ideas. Hence, for the citizens of Ukraine, the social system is described mainly as a space of political processes.

According to the picture we have considered above, produced by the media based on the results of empirical research, one might get the impression that there are two social orders in the country, two societies oriented towards these orders coexist. One of them "wants" to move east and end the conflict with a peace agreement, the other - to move west and end the conflict, ideally, with a military victory. Accordingly, within these existing in mass communication "societies" two mutually mirrored pictures of what is happening are formed - "correct", with the supporters of the same order and "wrong", with those who try to live outside it. Interaction within the framework of these pictures makes the political space integral - politics is reduced to the struggle of some "good" against other "good". The entire palette of the lives of millions of people acts as a background, the background of what is happening and is actualised only in this aspect - as an achievement or loss of power.

The state as an institution of public authority periodically focuses on both of these orders, dealing with their inconsistency and reflecting it in itself. All this is reflected in the consciousness of a person living in the country and forms an appropriate general idea about it - its results are visible "on the scoreboard" of sociological research and in the picture of demographic dynamics. This is a rather closed system in which political simulacra circulate, outside of which there is only a "silent majority", which in times of crises acts as a "majority that has been gagged.»

In the political behaviour of the masses, this state is expressed in the structure of political support for political projects of different ideology and orientation, in relation to which the state takes its position, on which assessments of its activities by different groups of the population depend. Summer 2020 demonstrates that four such leading party projects have emerged, towards which the majority of the country's population is oriented in their political preferences - the party of the current government Servant of the People, and the parties representing the previous corps of power - Opposition Bloc For Life, European Choice and "Batkivshchyna ". In the process of unfolding the administrative reform, new political projects aimed at regional elites are also entering the arena. (For details, see Appendix 1)

In the current practice of describing society in the media, it is customary to identify what people think about themselves and society with what they really are, social facts are not separated from the forms and ways of understanding them by people themselves. With such an approach, it is possible, on the basis of the results of a sociological survey, which shows that 60% of the surveyed residents of Ukraine believe in God, to conclude that it exists. Or, based on the fact that none of the respondents saw the far side of the moon, conclude that it does not exist in nature. Likewise, on the basis of the data obtained from the empirical generalisation of people's responses, a conclusion is drawn about the "orientation" of society as a whole - to certain alliances or to support a particular political party with its program.

Sociological research is formed as an element of social and political relations - their conduct is a rather costly undertaking, therefore, they take place only as a result of the interest of customers. Customers are interested in those aspects of social reality that are significant from the point of view of their specific interests. These interests are connected with their position in society, with the processes that make this position stable and allow them to satisfy their social needs. Therefore, sociological research keeps the attention of society to a certain set of problems and at the same time, by default, forms an image of society, which is not interested in other problems.

Relying on the image of society created under the influence of such information and on their own experience of life in it, people form their own ideas about the country. If this image contains components that open up the prospect of satisfying their vital interests, they have a positive attitude to this order of relations in society, if not, then negativistic, nihilistic moods and views are formed.

Public life includes politics - the relationship of domination and subordination. Therefore, the picture of social reality, which is conscientiously described by sociologists within the framework of their current capabilities, plays a dual role with society. On one hand, it strengthens social ties where it corresponds to the interests of the ruling groups - people have massive ideas about social facts and, in accordance with them, they shape their behaviour in society. On the other hand, when studying social processes and phenomena from the point of view of sociology, it ignores and makes invisible (thereby weakening) social ties in the picture of society where this corresponds to the interests of both the ruling groups and those who are under this domination. By strengthening one, we always destroy the other.

Proceeding from this, based on the analysis of the results of sociological research, we can find out not only the opinions of various groups of the population about various issues, but also what are the interests of the social groups ruling in a given society.

Sociological information is perceived through the refraction of the media, which in Ukraine form several large-scale "production machines" of mass consciousness, focused on a number of the most influential political and economic groups, as well as external institutions of influence. In this situation, not all the results of sociological research conducted in various spheres of public life become facts of mass consciousness and participate in the formation of the image of society in the consciousness of citizens.

As a phenomenon of mass consciousness, sociological research in Ukraine is mainly devoted to socio-political processes and is focused on a certain set of problems. The production of sociological information in the country is institutionalised, there are many permanent and temporary collectives engaged in this work. A special role in the formation of sociological knowledge is played by the Institute of Sociology of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, however, the fundamental research of this institution, unfortunately, is very rarely used by the media community of Ukraine for many reasons - from the incompatibility of often biased interest with the available data to the lack of a culture of perception and interpretation of sociological data in the mass media figures.

Considering the topics of sociological research available in media access from the most popular producers of sociological information in the media for the current year, 2020, we can highlight the trends in the establishment of information about society. (See Appendix 1 Research by the Kiev Institute of International Sociology (KIIS), the I. Kucheriv Foundation for Democratic Initiatives, Rating Group Ukraine, Sociological Research, as well as a consortium that combined the efforts and experience of the Ukrainian Institute for Social Research named after A. Yaremenko, «Social Monitoring» Centre and the Department of Monitoring Research of Socio-Economic Transformations of the Institute of Economics and Forecasting of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.)

Even a superficial analysis of the research topics of the most popular with the media sociological information production centres show that they are largely focused on socio-political topics:

  • Attitude towards political parties and forces
  • Electoral orientations
  • Attitude towards public institutions
  • Attitude to socio-political processes and phenomena
  • Geopolitical orientations
  • Attitude towards the past and ideological preferences
  • Rating of problems that concern citizens
  • Citizens' assessments of the authorities' activities
  • problems of war and peace.

The nature of the sociological information produced and broadcast by the media also influences the parameters by which citizens perceive Ukraine, form their assessments and draw conclusions. The "country of eternal revolutions" looks in the eyes of its citizens as a field of political battles that never end. Perhaps this is a necessary component of democratic processes, but it is perceived by the population mostly negatively, as a manifestation of a simple struggle of clans for resources of enrichment. The study of the rest of the palette of life has been ousted from the field of the relevant media space, the self-description of the social system follows a very narrow set of topics.
Society as a unified life support system receives a lot of sociological information, which forms an idea of it in the minds of the millions of people who form it.

First, a lot of closed studies are being carried out aimed at developing practical policies by various institutions - business, political parties. This information influences society after its implementation in the behaviour of the relevant subjects.

Secondly, research institutes (Institute of Sociology of NASU, Institute of Demography, large universities) independently or in association with international organisations conduct research in order to develop both new social knowledge and new ways of obtaining it. This "academic" sociological information influences society through the establishment of public policy and ideas about it in the minds of students and various professional groups.

In both cases, sociological information is perceived on the basis of social ideas existing in the mind - confirming them or making them doubtful.

Self-reference, self-description of society, takes place on the basis of several fundamental processes. The ideological basis for the development of a common way of social life for everyone is the process of broadcasting ideas about what happened and is happening in it, where its changes are directed. On this basis, internal motivations and models of mass behaviour are formed, social institutions arise and are retained in their specifically historical form.

Along with this, there is an empirical basis, the process of describing the "current state" of the processes of social life. This is knowledge about various states of social consciousness, attitudes, assessments, intentions of various groups of people, their attitude to phenomena and processes, their reactions to what is happening. Here self-reference is based on the production of statistical, demographic information, as well as news production - the work of the media. The media produces this information in the form of expert materials and shows simulating mass polls.

Modern societies have a self-referential nature - the process of describing social ties determines their nature, and how and with what result a society describes itself determines how its constituent people understand society itself, their place in it, and build a relationship both with society as a whole and with its constituent components. Therefore, in order to gain knowledge about society, it is necessary not only to describe its "objective" properties (the number of people, types of activities and systems of division of labor inherent in them, material, spiritual and organisational resources in circulation), but also to reveal the "subjective side "- how, with what means this society describes itself and what are the results of this description in the current consciousness.

In turn, so that any phenomenon or process can be discussed and understood for common practical life, a name is assigned to it. So in the variety of different objects and events that they deal with in their various practices, people find something similar or the same, an idea of a common situation for them arises. The result of the development of common perceptions and concepts is the establishment of categories that make it possible to see the world in the main, essential properties of its existence and functioning.

This process is aimed at highlighting the limit units of human experience in their ideal content representation. As a result, a generic concept is built, which, having lost its individual characteristics, becomes ideal-typical, one that is applicable to many situations, making them understandable. This way we can imagine "democracy", "justice" and other concepts with which reality is compared in order to make a clear understanding of the content of social life. On the basis of this understanding, a system of assessments and attitudes towards the life of the country arise. Social systems are formed on the basis of meaningful human behaviour aimed at another. These are the most complex, most complicated systems of all. Such systems reproduce themselves through communications.

Social action in the processes of describing society acts as a part of communication, and the latter becomes the basis of the social system, since it allows one to coordinate the mutual expectations of participants in social life. Social order systems are systems of the highest degree of complexity. They have a multitude of heterogeneous components and an extraordinary richness of connections between components. According to the point of view of the German theorist of social systems N. Luhmann, social systems are operatively closed self-referential communicative processes of human interaction. Each operation of a given system refers to another operation of a given system, so we can say that the system refers to itself. (8.)

Society as a whole is a system created by meanings through communication. The American sociologist T. Parsons defined society as a type of social system that has the highest degree of self-sufficiency in relation to its environment (9.). A social system can exist without being a society, if it is not capable of producing social ties relying on its resources - speaking in political and legal language, the social system in this case will not be an independent and sovereign state. The system constantly makes a binary choice between self-reference and foreign-reference. Self-reference is an appeal to the inner side of the form, foreign-reference is to the outer. The meaning assumes one side is actual, the other is potential.

N. Luhmann defines an operation that allows self-reproduction of a social system (autopoiesis) as communication. In it, only messages become meaningful - only the system's own meanings, which are communicated in the message. The system does not communicate with the external environment unknown to it by definition; it reflects only its own changes that have arisen under the influence of the external world. At the same time, consciousness and society are different systems, since only consciousness can think, while society can communicate (10.). Their structure is closely interdependent: there is no communication without consciousness, as well as consciousness without communication (11.), but at the same time, consciousness is possible outside of communication, and communication outside of consciousness is not. Consciousness is a medium, a mediating instance of communication, therefore the image of society, which has been formed in the minds of citizens, performs a critical function in communication processes and, through this, in the formation of a social system. Communication creates a space for constructing communicative meaning in the forms of language, social action and society (12.)

It is important that the social system can only deal with what can be thematised in its own communications (13.) Themes make up the memory of communication. They organise communications into complexes of elements in such a way that it is possible to understand whether these communications and the communications that follow them develop or change the topic. They serve for structural coupling and can penetrate into all areas of the system.

Social systems regulate the expectation of mutual expectations of the behaviour of participants in public life, in the regulation of which the legal system plays an important role, which formulates transparent and rational expectation programs. So the horizon of the ability to see and understand society determines the horizon of communication about it, the nature and scale of concerted actions of people who form an integral society.

Modern empirical research for the most part reveals, but avoids the emerging social conflicts, society does not have empirical information about their mechanisms, participants and the logic of unfolding. Not all social problems can be investigated through empirical research - therefore, a full-fledged public dialogue of experts-carriers of ideologies rooted in the mass consciousness is necessary.

A complex and multifaceted study and understanding of social processes contributes to the complication and development of society and vice versa - the simpler and more primitive the information about society that circulates in the media space, the more primitive the society, the smaller the amount of life activities in it are possible as a coordinated unity. In the rough language, in order to "sew Ukraine," you need a variety of threads and materials, which is much superior to the set that is sufficient for the most beautiful "Vyshyvanka"( an embroidered shirt, part of Ukranian national costume).

For modern Ukraine to develop sovereignty, it is necessary that it becomes a society and not just a social system. To do this, it must acquire the ability to produce social connections based on the description in the media of her own relevant states and react to external influences indirectly, to the extent that they affect these states. Here, a critical role is played by knowledge in its depth and breadth of coverage corresponding to the qualitative diversity and scale of the country as a social system in its current "embroidered" state.

To create a communicative space that unites the internally diverse society of today's Ukraine, it is necessary to qualitatively expand the range of information about it, which is present in the practices of media communication. This contradicts the ideological attitudes of some political forces to reduce the diversity of forms of socio-cultural life of a multi-million people to a unified set of sign-symbolic series of the ethnic-national panopticon. For the "stitching" of the country" something opposite is needed - an expansion of the variety of forms and objects for describing the processes of social life. Society must get out of the "ideological and political well" of views on itself and the world around it, into which it plunged in the process of deindustrialization.

Modern Ukraine is immersed in a communicative darkness that hides its real diversity behind a narrow set of political problems. In the consciousness and communicative interactions of millions of people, there is a critically small range and volume of knowledge about the phenomena and processes taking place in society. This haze does not allow the formation of stable structures of social interconnections that would make the country a sovereign, organically united whole, capable of self-regulation and self-reproduction. Therefore, the masses perceive society as one where everything flows, but nothing changes. The instability of social ties began to be perceived as a new normality, and those who link their fate with Ukraine are already determined by this fact. The perception of instability as a norm also gives rise to a new type of power legitimacy, which boils down to the ability to manipulate.

Of course, here we are talking about the subjective side of the society unity establishment- but it is just as necessary as the objective, associated with the processes of the joint process of life support - primarily with the economy. Along with the production and launch into mass circulation of adequate social information about current social processes, it is necessary to update both economic and cultural policies, without this the country will disintegrate, turning into a continuum of divided social fragments.

The narrowness of the set of sociological empirical studies that are in demand and circulate in the processes of media communication is one of the factors of the narrowness of the set of joint practices of perceiving social processes and communications about them.

The image of the common in Ukraine is dystrophic and rests on the subtle "props" of the current interests of individual economic and political groups. This reduces the image of the general to political practices, all others (economic, cultural, etc.) look and are perceived as a private matter of individual groups, which further segments society. Excluding all, except for political, aspects of social life from the general image, one can reach the point that the only meaningful unifying principle in the minds of the country's inhabitants will be the struggle of influence groups, external circumstances, symbols and territory.

Ukraine, as a modern society, a social system, needs processes of full-fledged development of social knowledge in order for it to reproduce itself on its own basis; on this basis, the subjective basis of its sovereignty and independence can be formed. Therefore, it is critically important to expand the range of sociological research, the production of both ideological (expert dialogue) and empirical social knowledge. Customers here should be not only business groups and the state, but also civil society, relying on internal resources.







8.Luhmann N. Theory of society // Theory of society: collection of articles. M., 1999., p. 204

9. Parsons T. System of modern societies. M., 1998., p. 20

10. Luhmann N. Die Gesellschaft der Gesellschaft. Frankfurt/M. 1997, p.105

11. Luhmann N. Die Wissenschaftlichen Wissenschaften und Phänomenologie. Wien, 1996., p.38

12. Luhmann N. Die Wissenschaftlichen Wissenschaften und Phänomenologie. Wien, 1996., С. 164-166

13. Aronov R.A. Consciousness and the quantum world // Questions of philosophy. 2005. No. 6. P.43

  1. The electoral rating of parties in the summer of 2020. If elections to the Verkhovna Rada were held next week, which political party would you vote for? (among all those who intend to vote and have made their choice)
Main conclusions:

1. The electoral orientations of voters in the summer were stable and focused on four political parties - "Servant of the people" "Opposing platform - For life", "European solidarity», «Batkivshchyna».

2. The potential of parties that can become parliamentary have the "Power and Honor" (Smeshko), «Shariy Party», «The Radical Party of Oleg Lyashko».

3. New party projects - "Party of Mayors", "Proposition", "For Future", "Ukrainian Strategy" have gained recognition, but do not have a national rating, are gaining influence and can be used in the elections to local authorities.

4. There is an electoral potential for the development of a new project - up to 5.7%.

5. Radically-nationalist-oriented party projects ("Democratic Sokyra" "National Corps" have a low electoral rating and can only act as "sparring partners" of other projects.


The current situation points to the crisis of the traditional party system, due to which people give preference to regional projects - politicians whom they know "for specific real cases."

Despite the fact that the national rating of new political projects is small compared to the leading four, their influence in local elections is quite high and therefore we can say that the political space of Ukraine is beginning to polarise in a new, horizontal dimension.

In particular, in the political regional arena of all major cities of Ukraine, local political parties guided by the current mayors, deputies or other representatives of the regional elite are actively working.
All of these parties have a real chance of getting a majority or significant number of fraction mandates in local councils. Their activities are already quite noticeable today, have become the subject of expert discussions in the media and through this they affect the mass consciousness of voters.

All of them are competitors of the current party of power, Servant of the People, and will also cause a lot of difficulties for nationwide Ukrainian opposition political forces, forcing them to reckon with the local elites.

The political influence of new projects is recorded in sociological studies.

Elections of Dnipro Mayor:
In the second round Buryak would have 49.3% against Kaltsev with 32.2% now.

Elections to the city council in Zaporizhzhya:
Mayor of Odesa elections:
Odesa City Council
Factors that influenced the emergence of local party projects, within which these projects will develop:

  • administrative decentralisation in the context of economic stagnation and the rupture of social ties between regions caused by de-industrialisation, clustering and the closure of economic life at the local level;
  • the weakness of the party work of the national parties in the regions;
  • the lack of national projects which could guide the all-Ukrainian parties in their ideological work;
  • discrediting the central government as a tool for solving regional and subregional problems;
  • the unpopularity of political programs and the ambiguous reputation of the current leaders of national party projects.
  • the narrow nature of the state ideology of nation-building, focused on Galician national-patriotism.

  1. Political projects created by local elites are entering the arena of political influence in the process of local elections. For the most part, they form a new political force, with which both the ruling party and the opposition parties will have to interact.
  2. This new political force is just being formed and will inevitably take shape in a new national project. At this phase, it is the result of a crisis of nationwide party projects and can afford not to have a nationwide agenda, within which the leading nationwide parties discredited themselves.
  3. Freedom from nationwide "unsolvable" problems on the agenda of local parties makes them attractive, because it channels sentiments against the policies of the central government, which generates them and uses them in their interests. This contributes to further alienation from the centre and encapsulation of political interests at the regional level. In such a situation, a new potential for political tension is being formed - at the interregional level, for those resources that were previously distributed in a centralised manner.
  4. Local parties will be successful only in those cities and regions where they will be associated with an influential local politician. It can be a mayor or a representative of strong financial and industrial groups or big business in the region.
  5. Local parties reflect the protest sentiments of Ukrainians, who are not satisfied with the activities of large opposition political forces for various reasons. In some regions, high-quality party and personnel work is simply not being carried out, in others, the current opposition forces do not have enough media or financial resources. But local party projects can accumulate an already existing team of politicians who have been working in a particular region for many years. There is more confidence in such politicians in local elections, because voters can directly feel the effect of their actions or inaction on the quality of their lives.
  6. Local party projects can become both influential players in a particular region, playing on the oppositional feelings of voters, and vice versa - over time, become active supporters of the actions of the central government, if local elites see certain benefits for themselves. By supporting new projects and entering into alliances with local parties, the central government will have a new opportunity to steal elections at both national and local levels, especially in large cities in southeastern Ukraine, where support for the current government's course is critically low. This will be a factor in the split of local elites and political alienation from the population, which creates the prospect of a further decline in the country's political space. This situation creates at the same time a demand for non-political (primarily power) forms of regulation of relations between subjects with different interests and a demand for regulation by external centres of influence.
Research consortium, which combined the efforts and experience of the Ukrainian Institute for Social Research named after A. Yaremenko, the" Social Monitoring " Centre and the Department of Monitoring Research of Socio-Economic Transformations of the Institute of Economics and Forecasting of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine occasionally appear in the media, but their results are published in the specialised scientific journal" Ukrainian Society".

Course and components of the consortium's research:

Ratings of political forces, individual politicians;

Financial behaviour of information sources;

Informal and shadow income;

Electoral orientations;

Employment and unemployment;

Social and political sentiments;

Self-assessment of financial standing;

Trust in political parties, individual politicians, social institutions;

Life satisfaction; Socio-economic sentiment indices;

Social policy assessment;

Assessments of acute issues on the agenda: culture and education, the level of corruption;

Foreign Policy Orientations;

Relevant public issues;

Holidays and memorable dates.

From the publicly available on the consortium's website topic that we are considering, the study "Monitoring the public opinion of the population of Ukraine: June 2020.» is dedicated, the data of which aroused interest on the eve of the celebration of Independence Day.
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