Ukrainian Unity

In the votes held this past weekend, the separatists in Donestk and Luhansk claim they received a mandate for independent states. However, according to polls conducted by Pew a few weeks back, most of Ukraine, with the notable exception of Crimea, wants to remain united as a single country. In fairness, this poll was conducted after Russia annexed Crimea but before the deaths of pro-Russian separatists in Odessa and Mariupol. (Anecdotally, those events have driven some to the separatist camp.) The map below is part of the Pew report. However, I have an issue with it that, again in fairness, might not be solvable given whatever raw data with which Pew was working.

Who wants secession? Only Crimea.
Who wants secession? Only Crimea.

The map colours each oblast, roughly equivalent to a US state, according not to the results of the survey, but rather to which region the oblast belongs. For example, Kirovohrad is the same colour as Donetsk. Donetsk, however, is the epicentre of the unrest in Ukraine whereas I have at least seen no reports of unrest in Kirovohrad. Are they really reporting the same desire of unity or secession? Would the map not be clearer if each oblast was reported independently?

My guess is that results like these are clear to the Kremlin. And so I think while Donetsk and Luhansk will remain Ukrainian, Crimea will likely remain Russian.

Credit for the piece goes to the Pew Research Center’s graphics department.

Author: Brendan Barry

I am a graphic designer who focuses on information design. My day job? I am the data visualisation manager for the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. (This blog is my something I do on my own time and does not represent the views of the Fed, blah blah blah legal stuff.) And with my main interest in information design—be it in the shape of clear charts, maps, diagrams, or wayfinding systems—I am fortunate that my day job focuses on data visualisation. Outside of work, I try to stay busy with personal design work. Away from the world of design, I enjoy cooking and reading and am interested in various subjects from history and geography to politics to science to the arts. And I allow all of them to influence my work.

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