Psychosemantic analysis of political consciousness of Ukrainian citizens: from the Past until the Future. (реферат)

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Psychosemantic analysis of political consciousness of Ukrainian
citizens: from the Past until the Future.

What we have had… Since 1994 Institute of Social and Political
Psychology (Ukraine) monitored political consciousness of the population
and surveyed main tendencies for development of political and
ideological views and attitudes of the Ukrainian citizens on the base of
original psychosemantic methodic. The methodic allows an explicit
analysis of the content of those psychological realities, which are
hiding behind the casual percentage.

On the base of the factual material, which we have got from annual
massive psychosemantic questionnaires (all-Ukraine random-sample, 2 000
persons), we built a model of a political-semantic space of a modern
Ukrainian society (see picture). Our main methodological technique is
evaluation by the respondents of their own agreement/disagreement with
the content of about thirty-forty statements according to main political
problems, taken from print mass media of different political directions.
The base of the model consists of two factors, which were singled out as
the result of quantitative analysis of factual material and stay for
years as main ones.

The content of the first factor consists of evaluations, which reflects
the respondents’ attitude towards economical and political reforms (we
called it “Reformative/Anti-Reformative attitudes). The attitude towards
reforms points to an interesting peculiarity of mass consciousness of
post-totalitarian, exUSSR society. All economical and ideological
constructs merge into one – mainly ideological. So economical categories
are subordinated to the political preferences in the minds of our
people. For example, a person voting for reconstruction of the Soviet
symbolism will approve with the high percentage of probability
conservation of collective farms and disapprove private farming, and
vice versa.

HYPERLINK “D:\Petya\REFERATU\Referatu_na_sayti\2006\Пеетро вересень
2006\pict\grafvaseng.gif” Picture 1. Dynamic of Ukrainian citizens’
political consciousness in 1994-2002

The main problem in the factor’s content is the attitude towards
collective farms (in all their forms) and private farming: these
statements are highly accentuated. So that is the main psychological and
ideological problem for mass political consciousness in Ukraine.

The second group of statements creates the factor we called
“Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes”. It’s content reveals Ukraine-Russia
relations, West-East orientation and so on.

The central is linguistic problem: whether it be Ukrainian
monolinguality or Ukrainian-Russian bilinguality. And in this case we
can also observe an important social-psychological phenomenon. In casual
questionnaires when we are asking our respondents to choose important
problems, linguistic problems are rarely chosen: about 7-10% from both
sides. But actually these problems are far more important,
psychologically “itching”, which are potentially dangerous and may shake
the mass consciousness up.

The space of our model reflects the essential multitude of
political-ideological positions of Ukrainian citizens. Individual
positions of the respondents cover all the model’s space, but the
thickness of layers is different.

The factual analysis procedure gives the opportunity to define the
average positions of all respondents and their distinct groups. And the
model clearly shows a directed movement of mass consciousness from
“left” (Anti-Reformative and pro-Russian) to “right” (Reformative and
Patriotic) political attitudes, though a bit wandered.

1994, the attitudes were altogether “left” (or rather left-centric), and
that embodied in the results of that year presidential elections and the
victory of “left” L.Kuchma.

At 1995 we could see notably “right” movement, more according to
patriotic scale than reformative.

1996, the position of mass consciousness crossed the averaged level of
“patriotic” scale and it was likely for Ukraine to become a seriously
“right-centric” society.

But the year 1997 changed nothing, and in 1998 we observed a sudden
“jump” to the “left” side of political spectrum. So according to the
results of that year parliament election “the lefts” were not only
undefeated but also became stronger.

1999 changed almost nothing in political-psychological situation of
Ukraine: it became just a little bit more “left”. And in the year 2000
the situation was still hanging about.

At 2001 we noted at last a sudden movement to the “right” and the reason
was obviously a positive activity of V.Yuschenko cabinet. The Ukrainian
mass consciousness crossed the Rubicon.

Still we must accentuate that these positive changes are of a very slow
nature. Citizens conservatively stick to their own views and ideals.
Though this slow ripening of mass consciousness is of a special value,
because makes the society ideologically and psychologically immune
against political and psychological techniques of a different kind (this
phenomenon we could observe at 2002 parliament election).

The correlation between the representatives of different
social-demographic groups is stable as in the society so is in the
model. The main definitive distinction appeared to be regional one.
According to the factor “Reformative/Anti-Reformative attitudes” on the
“right” political pole situated Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, and the
Western regions, on the “left” one – Eastern regions of Ukraine. Views
of people living in the Central, Southern regions and Crimea are close
to the central point.

According to the factor “Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes” relative
positions of regions are alike with previous ones: most “patriotic” are
Western regions, then goes Kyiv and the Central region. The North-East
is close to the central point. And the Eastern regions, the South and
Crimea are in the opposition.

We observed the essential differences in political positions of citizen
according to their age. Along both vectors of the model the youth
(persons under 30) occupied the most “right” positions, and the
representatives of the elder generation (after 50) – the most “left”.
This logic is more obvious with factor “Reformative/Anti-Reformative”,
and less with the factor “Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes”.

The cross-sexual differences are faintly expressed and are of
traditional style, stereotypical for Ukrainian men/women mentality and
behavior. Ukrainian women are some more conservative than men, and less
apt to accept new realities especially in the sphere of economical and
political reforms. So the average “men” political position is on the
“right” side counting from the central point, and the “women” one is

There are essential cross-ethnical differences. Mainly we are talking
about the different political positions of the two largest ethnic groups
in Ukraine – Ukrainians and Russians. No wonder that the largest
difference is according to the factor “Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes”:
fairly expressed pro-Ukrainian position of ethnic Ukrainians opposed to
the clearly pro-Russian oriented ethnic Russians. And we should add that
the average intensification of “patriotic” attitudes was mainly in
Ukrainian-speaking regions. The central point position belongs to the
representatives of other nationalities, and that group is certainly not
homogeneous. Before that group sympathized to Russians, but now their
position is close to the Ukrainian one.

According to the attitude towards reforms the difference between ethnic
groups is less expressed but still essential. The most pro-reformative
are positions of national minorities. The Ukrainians are fairly
pro-reformative and the Russians are rather anti-reformative.

Amongst the main social-professional groups the positive evaluation of
reforms immanent to businessmen, students, military and policemen, less
enthusiastic are engineers, technicians, clerks and intelligentsia. On
the other side are pensioners and a little bit closer to the center –
workers and unemployment people. Peasants, which were before mostly
anti-reformative, moved to the center close to housewives and

The majority of social-professional groups are fairly pro-patriotic.
Pro-Russian are pensioners (but we think it is the influence of
age-factor, not a professional one) and workers (it may be because of
the regional factor: most workers live in the Eastern industrial

Among the inhabited localities of different categories (counting
population and administrative value) the most reformative and
pro-patriotic are citizens of Kyiv. Citizens of the cities, which are
regional administrative centers, and citizens of little towns sympathize
to the central point political position. Inhabitants of cities, which
are not regional centers, are clearly “left”-oriented: and that is
because of regional (those cities are mostly situated at the East of
Ukraine) and ethnic (the percent of ethnic Russians there is great)

Speaking about the groups with the different level of income: the poor
are “left”, the rich are “right”. Note, that the richest are not very
“patriotic”, actually they closer to the central position than not so
rich ones.

Behind the general position of different groups of respondents lies the
political-ideological space of various individual positions. That space
is stretched mostly along “left”-“right” axis of our model. That is why
for all those years in mass consciousness we could observe a
stereotypical division of all possible political positions according to
the dichotomy of “left” and “right”, which in the structure of our
political spectrum reflected in the opposition of communists and

The process of democratization of Ukraine is going on with some
difficulties but results in pluralism of political views and attitudes,
multiple individual and group positions. So now we can even say that
some of our citizens gradually decline that stereotypical division of
political views.

This tendency was clearly seen during the parliament elections of 1998.
In the results of these elections we observed signs of deformed
stereotypical political configurations. The essential deviations were on
the base of so-called political-ideological provincialism. In some
regions on the general background of political attitudes appeared
parties created, spearheaded or simply supported by the regional popular
leaders. That derivative (contrary to the primary one we speak before)
“regionalization” of electoral behavior acted an important
social-psychological role. It symbolized a crush of some stereotypes of
making an electoral decision (mainly in the frame of traditional
dichotomy) and opened people psychologically for the influence of
different, not purely ideological factors.

Still we don’t have reasons to think that mass consciousness of
Ukrainians freed itself from before mentioned linearity. For most of
citizens the depicted dichotomy is the only guide in making political
decisions. It is clearly seen in the most ideologically engaged regions:
“right” Halychyna and “left” Donbas and Crimea.

At 2002 elections tendencies of derivative “regionalization” were
comparatively weak. We incline to view that change in mass consciousness
as the result of influence one more main factor of its development –
“nostalgia for strong power”, “wish of a firm hand”. In our surveys we
continuously see the high level of psychological importance for average
citizens of their subjective attitude towards the authorities. We
observed a domination of high level expectations from “ideal”, desired
authorities combined with the ultimate distrust towards the real, actual
authorities and in our social-political context interpret it as an
inclination to accept the idea of “strong” authorities.

It is quite possible that regional deviations of 1998 were the evidence
of the search for a strong leader on the local level. Some political
leaders gained great local popularity. Then people got disappointed by
their activity and showed it during the next election. But at 2002
election the “strong leader” factor still worked though at the high,
all-national level and embodied in the person of V.Yuschenko. People
voted for him (it is quite obviously that they voted for Yuschenko but
not for his party) not only in the Western regions, but also in the
Center, North and South, and it were not only “right”-oriented and
“right-centrists”, but also those who prefer the central point of
political spectrum and step to the left. Still Russian-speaking regions
weren’t impressed by Yuschenko and went on with the search of political
ideal at the left political wing or amongst the authorities.

What we should expect… It would be careless to explain the results of
elections only with the actual evaluations and attitudes of citizens.
Perhaps, the visions of future play role even more important, because
for the sake of better future people actually elect. That is why we can
speak about the implicit scripts of the nearest future as a result of
interplay of manifold factors, which cause the mass consciousness
development. These scripts are the outcome of inter-reaction and
co-existence of multitude individual and group anticipations of
political reality on different levels, group and individual ones.
Naturally, those schemes exist in mass consciousness not like theatrical
scripts, rather like intuitive suppositions, visions, forecasts,
expectations, which result in bizarre collective anticipation of the
nearest and distant future.

Sometimes these scripts could be expressed more or less clearly in a
political program or scientific prognosis, but the most influential they
are in trivial minds, in everyday activity of individuals, groups and
masses. On the one side scripts are the result of social experience,
tasted with mass imaginations of desirable and possible future. On the
other side, they influence mass consciousness, make it ready to accept
certain events and even assist, consciously or not.

Using special social-psychological methodic we have discovered and
depicted four main scripts, which dominated in Ukrainian mass
consciousness the second half of 90s.

First, the most influential and widespread script (we called it “left
protest”) was closely connected with the present state of affairs, and
even more: this script was a logical development and deterioration of
the present day affairs. It’s main features are: intensification of
public discontent with worsening social-economical situation in Ukraine:
exacerbation of social contradictions, risk of social conflicts and mass
protest actions: growing disappointment in authorities’ competence:
disillusion in political means of solving problems, political apathy and
electoral passivity.

At these conditions political attitudes would probably shift “left”, and
in modern Ukraine that would be not just pro-communist positions, but
rather national-communist (with acute social-economic demands and
comparatively calm attitude to national ideas) and social-democratic
(which are adequate to views dominating in modern Ukraine but due to the
low level of political-ideological reflection in our citizens still are
not dominant).

The second script (we called it “political-centric”) reflected tendency
to solve social problems with political means. Here was a dominating
hope of citizens that political elite would find a peaceful way out of
crisis; belief in possibility of common social ground for different
political forces; support for ideological pluralism and not for a single
dominant ideology; and slightly expressed adherence to market-oriented

At these conditions “centric” and liberal political forces would
dominate in Ukraine.

The third script (“political-radical”) also suppose a way out crisis
with the help of political means, though not in the form of a political
co-operation but rather a political-ideological polarization of society;
aggravation of cross-ethnical, cross-confessional and other
contradictions; inflammation of great social conflicts, solving them
then with the help of violence, up to a civil war.

This variant supposes an activation of ultra-“left” (ultra-communist)
and ultra-“right” (radical nationalistic) movements that would aim
towards a fascist dictate.

And at last fourth script (“market-democratic”) was the most attractive
and least possible from mass conscious’ point of view. It was aimed to
fast implementation of market-oriented reforms, therefore economical
growth, therefore high level of social protection for poor people;
lessening of social-psychological tensions; affirmation of western
democracy values; growing acceptance of idea of Ukrainian national
renewal and independency by Ukrainian citizens.

On the way of implementation of this scheme the most popular would have
been national-democratic politic forces (if they got rid of their image
of being excessively preoccupied with ethno-linguistic problems).

The development of mass consciousness at first years of 21st century
shows that we have good chances to avoid an unproductive first script
and a dangerous third one. Mass consciousness, like the society itself,
hesitates to choose the second or fourth script, and that situation
demands a special social-psychological analysis for us to know for sure
what will calm our hearts…

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