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.
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.