Referendums in Ukraine

Referendums in Ukraine, according to the Ukrainian Constitution, are one of the lawful forms of expression of people's will.

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Referendums are organized by population initiative of no less than 3 million voters. The referendums are designated by either the Parliament or the President. Any change to the territory of Ukraine can be resolved solely by a national referendum.

Referendum of independence, 1991

On December 1, 1991, a referendum, initiated by parliament of Ukraine, took place. On August 26, 1991, the parliament adopted the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine, and the referendum was called with a question: "Do you support the Declaration of Independence of Ukraine". Of registered voters, 84.18% participated in the referendum, and 90.32% of them answered "Yes".

Referendum of Kuchma, 2000

On April 16, 2000, an All-Ukrainian referendum took place, which was called by the President Kuchma upon population initiative. Four questions were brought up:

  • On conditions for dissolution of the parliament
  • On immunity of a deputy
  • On decrease of the number of parliament deputies
  • On introduction of two-chamber parliament

The majority of citizens answered "Yes" on all four questions.

Referendums on NATO and Common Economic Space

In December 2006, the Central Electoral Committee of Ukraine recognized as valid more than 3 million voters' signatures which were collected in the call for the Referendum on Ukraine joining NATO, and for the Referendum on Ukraine joining Common Economic Space (with Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan). The Committee officially informed the President of Ukraine of their decision. It's expected that the President or the Parliament should schedule the referendums. No financing was reserved for the organization of referendums in 2007 State Budget of Ukraine. The signature collection in the call for the referendum was organized by the United Social Democratic Party of Ukraine. .

A Gallup poll conducted in October 2008 showed that 43% of Ukrainians associated NATO as a threat to their country, while only 15% associated it with protection.[1] A November 2009 poll by Ukrainian Project System relieved 40.1% of Ukrainians polled said the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) was the best global security group for Ukraine to be a part of and 33.9% of the respondents supported Ukraine's full membership in CSTO; more than 36% of the respondents of the poll said that Ukraine should remain neutral and only 12.5% supported Ukraine's accession to NATO.[2] A 2009 Gallup poll showed that 40% of Ukrainian adults associate NATO with "Threat" and 17% with "Protection".[3] According to a poll by Razumkov Center in March 2011 20.6% on average across Ukraine considered NATO a threat; this number was 51% in Crimea.[4] A 2013 Gallup poll showed that 29% associated NATO with "Threat" and 17% with "Protection"; 44% viewed it as neither.[5]

In February 2014 President Yanukovych fled Ukraine amid the Euromaidan uprising. As a result of this revolution, the interim Yatsenyuk Government came to power in Ukraine.[6] The Yatsenyuk Government initially stated it did not have the intention of making Ukraine a member of NATO. Following parliamentary elections in October 2014, the new government made joining NATO a priority.[7] On 29 December 2014 Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko (elected president on 25 May 2014)[8] vowed to hold a referendum on joining NATO.[9]

NATO officials vowed support for Ukraine and worked to downplay tensions between the bloc and Russia, which refused to recognize the impeachment of Yanukovych or the Yatsenyuk Government.[10] In late February 2014, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Secretary General of NATO, reaffirmed that NATO membership is still an option for Ukraine.[11]

Western Ukraine has always been significantly more pro-NATO than the rest of the country;[12][13][14] Eastern Ukraine is far more anti-NATO and pro-Russia than the rest of Ukraine.[14][5] Following the Russian military intervention of 2014, annexation of Crimea and the start of the Donbass War, many Ukrainians changed their views of NATO: polls from the middle of 2014 till 2016 showed that the majority of Ukrainians supported NATO membership.[15][16][17]

Popular support in Ukraine for NATO membership since 2002
Date Opinion Poll agency
For Against
March 201444%47%GfK[28]
April 201436%48%Razumkov Centre[29]
May 201437%42%Razumkov Centre[30]
May 201441%40%Democratic Initiatives Foundation & Razumkov Centre[31]
June 201441%40%Razumkov Centre[32]
June 201447%36%Gorshenin Institute[33]
July 201444%34%RATING[34]
October 201453%34%Gorshenin Institute[15]
November 201451%25%RATING[16]
March 201543.3%33.4%Kyiv International Institute of Sociology[35]
June 201553%32%Pew Research Center[36]
July 201563.9%28.5%Democratic Initiatives Foundation & Razumkov Centre[37]
December 201575%11%Democratic Initiatives Foundation[38]
January 201647%31%RATING[17]
March 201645%30%RATING[39]
June 201639%32%RATING[40]
September 201639%31%Kyiv International Institute of Sociology[41]
December 201671%23%Democratic Initiatives Foundation & Razumkov Centre[42]
June 201953%29%RATING[43]

On 29 August 2015 Baturyn Andrii posted an electronic petition №22/000052 [44] to the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko requesting to run a referendum to join NATO. Petition achieved required 25 000 of votes to be considered. President reply mentions that "One of the main priorities of Ukraine's foreign policy is to deepen cooperation with NATO to achieve the criteria required for membership in this organization. Today we carry out security sector reform in Ukraine to reach NATO standards and to strengthen the country's defense system, which is necessary to counter Russian aggression. Once Ukraine fulfills all the necessary criteria to join the Alliance, final decision on this important issue will be approved by the Ukrainian people in a referendum".[45]

In Feb 2017 President Poroshenko announced a referendum (given polls that show 54 percent of Ukrainians favor such a move) to be held during his presidency.[46][47]

See also


  1. Ukrainians May Oppose President’s Pro-Western Goals Gallup Retrieved on August 26, 2009
  2. Poll: over 40 percent of Ukrainians prefer Collective Security Treaty Organization , 12.5 percent favor NATO, Kyiv Post (November 26, 2009)
  3. Ukrainians Likely Support Move Away From NATO, Gallup (April 2, 2010)
  4. Poll: Most Crimean residents consider Ukraine their motherland, Kyiv Post (11 April 2011)
  5. Before Crisis, Ukrainians More Likely to See NATO as a Threat, Gallup (14 March 2014)
  6. Maidan nominates Yatseniuk for prime minister, Interfax-Ukraine (26 February 2014)
    Ukrainian parliament endorses new cabinet, Interfax-Ukraine (27 February 2014)
  7. "New Ukraine Coalition Agreed, Sets NATO As Priority". Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. 2014-11-22. Retrieved 2014-11-22.
  8. "Ukraine talks set to open without pro-Russian separatists". The Washington Post. 14 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
    "Ukraine elections: Runners and risks". BBC News. 22 May 2014. Archived from the original on 27 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
    "Q&A: Ukraine presidential election". BBC News. 7 February 2010. Archived from the original on 29 April 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
    "Poroshenko wins presidential election with 54.7% of vote – CEC". Radio Ukraine International. 29 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
    Внеочередные выборы Президента Украины [Results election of Ukrainian president] (in Russian). Телеграф. 29 May 2014. Archived from the original on 29 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
    "New Ukrainian president will be elected for 5-year term – Constitutional Court". Interfax-Ukraine. 16 May 2014. Archived from the original on 17 May 2014. Retrieved 29 May 2014.
  9., Euronews (30 December 2014)
  10. "NATO commander plays down tension with Russia over Ukraine". Reuters. 27 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  11. "Door to NATO remains open for Ukraine". Euronews. 26 February 2014. Retrieved 27 February 2014.
  12. Endgame in NATO's Enlargement: The Baltic States and Ukraine by Yaroslav Bilinsky, 1999, Greenwood Press, ISBN 0-275-96363-2/ISBN 978-0-275-96363-7, page 25
  13. The language question, the results of recent research in 2012, RATING (25 May 2012)
  14. Ukrainians supporting NATO membership in minority – poll, Interfax-Ukraine (14 May 2014)
  15. Nearly 40% of Ukrainians ready to demonstrate if authorities do not fulfil promises, ITAR-TASS (October 22, 2014)
  16. (in Ukrainian) Accession to the EU support almost two-thirds of Ukrainians, 51% - for joining NATO - opinion poll 24 (TV channel) (20/11/14)
  17. Majority of Ukrainians would favor Ukraine membership in EU and NATO – poll, UNIAN (4 February 2016)
  18. NATO-Ukraine relations In the public focus, Razumkov Centre, 17-25 June 2002 (page 55)
  19. ELECTION BRIEFING NO. 16 - EUROPE AND THE UKRAINIAN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION OF 2004, European Parties Elections and Referendums Network/University of Sussex
  20. Europe or Russia? Whom will Ukraine Choose?, The World Reporter (21 October 2011)
  21. FOM-Ukraine April 2009 survey, FOM-Ukraine, Retrieved on 4 June 2009
  22. Ukrainians want to enter EU, not NATO, poll shows], RIA Novosti (2 March 2010)
  23. DW-Trend: The majority of Ukrainians - against joining NATO, DW.DE (24.05.2011)
  24. (in Ukrainian) Poll: Only 15% of Ukrainian citizens see their country in NATO 24 (TV channel) (17.05.12)
  25. (in Russian)Ukrainians are less willing to NATO - poll, (27.12.2012)
  26. Poll: Almost half of Ukrainians back Ukraine's accession to EU, Kyiv Post (10 January 2012)
    (in Ukrainian) Майже половина українців хочуть в ЄС, трохи менше - в Митний союз Almost half of Ukrainian want the EU, a little less - the Customs Union, Ukrayinska Pravda (10 January 2013)
    (in Ukrainian) EU and Customs Union? Where citizens want to go? - A national survey, Democratic Initiative Foundation (21 to December 24, 2012)
  27. (in Ukrainian) The majority of Ukrainians oppose NATO membership - poll, NB News (17.10.2013)
  28. (in Ukrainian) Most Ukrainian happy to deal with the EU, but are not ready for NATO membership - poll, UNIAN (22 March 2014)
    (in Ukrainian) "1 +1" researched Ukrainian sentiment towards the EU, NATO, Russia, and Ukraine's new government, GfK Ukraine (22 March 2014)
    (in Ukrainian) "1 + 1" explored the Ukrainian sentiment towards the EU, NATO, Russia and the new government of Ukraine, Televiziyna Sluzhba Novyn (March 22, 2014)
  29. Ukrainians supporting NATO membership in minority - poll, Interfax-Ukraine (14 May 2014)
  30. (in Ukrainian) Результати соціологічного дослідження «Зовнішньополітичні орієнтації громадян України», Razumkov Center (13 May 2014)
  31. (in Ukrainian) The attitude of citizens to join NATO and other security, Democratic Initiatives Foundation (1 July 2014)
  32. (in Ukrainian) Analyst: "Spend less than 2% of GDP on" defense "we can afford only if join NATO", Den (newspaper) (July 3, 2014)
    (in Ukrainian) Sociologists have recorded the highest level of support for the idea of Ukraine's membership in NATO, UNIAN (02.07.2014)
  33. Over 60% of Ukrainians want accession to EU, Ukrinform (17 June 2014)
    (in Ukrainian) Because of Russia almost half of all Ukrainians want to join NATO, Ukrayinska Pravda (17 June 2014)
    (in Ukrainian) Україна після революції: українці хочуть у Європу та НАТО і вимагають повної люстрації влади
  34. (in Ukrainian) Almost half of the Ukrainian wants to join NATO - poll, TVi (22 July 2014)
  35. (in Ukrainian) About half of Ukrainian for accession to the EU and NATO - poll , (26 March 2015)
  36. NATO publics blame Russia for Ukrainian Crisis, but reluctant to provide military aid, Pew Research Center (10 June 2015)
  37. Кому більше довіряють українці: владі, громадськості, ЗМІ..?, Democratic Initiatives Fund (3 August 2015)
  38. "Більшість українців хоче в НАТО, - соцопитування". Espreso TV. 2008-06-17. Retrieved 2015-12-12.
  39. Less than half of Ukrainians support NATO membership, Interfax-Ukraine (18 April 2016)
  40. (in Ukrainian) Ukrainians have become skeptical attitude to joining NATO, Ukrayinska Pravda (11 July 2016)
  41. (in Ukrainian) Most Ukrainian want the EU - poll KIIS, Ukrayinska Pravda (25 October 2016)
  42. Most Ukrainians favor joining NATO, Interfax-Ukraine (28 December 2016)
    (in Ukrainian) Two third Ukrainian would vote for joining NATO - survey, Ukrayinska Pravda (28 December 2016)
  43. Poll: NATO support grows in Ukraine, reaches 53 percent, Kyiv Post (9 July 2019)
  44. "Electronic petitions to the president of Ukraine. "Joining NATO referendum" (replied). Petition text (A.S.Baturyn)". 29 August 2015.
  45. "Electronic petitions to the president of Ukraine. "Joining NATO referendum" (replied). President's reply". 29 August 2015.
  46. "Ukraine's Poroshenko plans referendum on NATO membership: German media. Reuters". 1 February 2017.
  47. "Ukraine's Petro Poroshenko 'will hold referendum' on Nato membership. Telegraph". 2 February 2017.
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