Ukraine’s fight against corruption recently faced criticism after the killing of a prominent human rights lawyer who fought against nepotism, failures to detain and prosecute corrupt officials, and delays in reform legislation. And the stakes are high: Ukraine’s $17.5 billion IMF funding program is contingent on a demonstration of significant progress in anti-corruption measures.

The call for anti-corruption in Ukraine originated with 2014’s Maidan Revolution, which led to the ousting of then President Yanukovych, and later the annexation of Crimea by Russia and further military intervention.

Since then, current President Poroshenko, being elected with the reputation of a reformer, has been tasked with fighting corruption in the state through the formation of an independent anti-corruption court. But, as accusations of the government’s intentional sabotage of anti-corruption efforts surface, the ire of the public continues to rise.

Ukrainians have little trust in their justice system

Dalia conducted a survey in mid December to better understand the Ukrainian public’s perception of law and order. The results show that only 22% of Ukrainians trust the courts to provide justice. 39% say they don’t have a lot of trust and an additional 39% say they don’t trust the courts whatsoever. Since November, total distrust in the courts has increased from 71% to 78%. Additionally, mistrust and corruption appears to hit close to home for many Ukrainians: 37% say that in the past 12 months they, or someone close to them (friends, family), have personally experienced or witnessed an act of corruption like bribery or fraud.


  In a similar vein, the majority of Ukrainians say the level of corruption in their country has increased in the past 12 months (51%). Others say the corruption level has stayed more or less the same (29%), but only 9% say the level of corruption has decreased.  

Low Presidential and Governmental Approval Ratings

Approval for President Poroshenko’s job performance is also quite low. Just 22% of Ukrainians approve of his performance, while the majority (60%) disapprove. The ratings are slightly lower for Ukrainians’ assessment of parliamentary representatives (12% approve, 59% disapprove of their performance).

Despite the concerns about corruption, as of mid December, only 18% of Ukrainians said they were likely to join a protest or demonstration in the next three months. Moving into January, protest likelihood can be expected to increase considering the recent corruption concerns brought to the public’s attention.

Dalia will continue to monitor protest likelihood, attitudes towards corruption and government approval on a monthly basis. Feel free to sign up to our newsletter to receive updates. You can also access the press release with these results here.


Photo: Anti-government protests in Kiev, 2013; By Sasha Maksymenko