Anticorruption Perception and Experience Poll. North-Central Macro-Region

Ukraine’s governance agenda and socio-economic development have seen multiple ups and downs, as well as unprecedented events in the last decade. Some of the most vocal demands post-Maidan have been those of justice and total cleansing of corruption. Over the previous three years, Ukraine has seen what some experts dubbed “the third electoral Maidan” with Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team’s landslide victory (allowing him to retain a relatively high personal rating of trust in his third year of tenure). Over 1,5 years ago, the country plunged into the COVID-19 pandemic. Events of such magnitude tend to alter citizen perceptions and, in the case of pandemic restrictions, real-life experiences. The explosion of digital communications has boosted the popularity of politicians who can make voters feel as though they are talking to their neighbor, a person from across the street. In this light, do the numbers in the 2021 anti-corruption poll point to actual progress or are they a shift in volatile opinions due to well-crafted political rhetoric? Does the sheer weight of Presidential supporters today as opposed to opponents have an impact on perceptions? And is corruption truly the top-ranking issue? This note compares the all-Ukrainian landscape with data gathered in Kyivska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska and Chernihivska oblasts and is mostly concentrated on the areas that demonstrate “data outliers” and unexpected findings.

The Anticorruption Perception and Experience poll has been in place for over 15 years now, covering issues of corruption and anti-corruption developments, perceptions, and real-life experiences of Ukrainians. This brief analysis captures only some of the most noteworthy insights of the poll’s March 2021 edition and contrasts the nation-wide data with the situation observed in the macro-region made up of the five oblasts. The nation-wide poll sample, shaped by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, included 10,000 respondents, and reached out to no fewer than 400 persons in each of the oblasts in late February 2021. As such, the most evident data analysis disclaimer is that the ongoing pandemic and its restrictions have impacted citizen perceptions and real-life experiences. Meanwhile, we present below the sometimes controversial and, at the same time, vivid story that the 2021 data bring us.

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  • 2021 nationwide data suggest that “corruption” is the number one concern (93,6% – combined ‘very serious’ and ‘serious’ responses) for the country followed very closely by the “high cost of living and low salaries” (92,7%) and the “military conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts” (91,7%). At the oblast level, “corruption” gravitated to the top of the list but was, in some cases competing against options different from the national-level rating. Respondents from Poltavska and Chernihivska oblasts were the closest to the national chart – picking “corruption” as the number one concern followed by grievances over the standard of living and the military conflict. In the case of Chernihiv, responses are located so closely that differences could be attributed to the margin of error (99,8%, 99,3% and 98,8% for the top-three responses). In Poltavska oblast, respondents also singled out the high cost and low quality of healthcare, housing and communal services; Sumska and Cherkaska oblasts listed unemployment as one of their top concerns; Kyivska and Sumska oblast residents singled out drug abuse as a sizeable problem. All in all, whether corruption makes it to the very top of the list or is among several top grievances – it is noted in each of the oblasts analyzed, and the average percentage of respondents in the five oblasts believing that corruption is a serious hindrance for Ukraine (95,2%) is slightly higher than the national average (93,6%). Respondents from Chernihivska oblast seem to have high sensitivity to the issue of corruption with 99,8% of the respondents stating it was a ‘very serious’ or ‘serious’ challenge for Ukraine nowadays.
  • At the national level, “grand and political corruption” is seen as much more toxic (87,2% – combined ‘very serious’ and ‘serious’ responses) if compared to “everyday petty corruption” (77,8%) and “corruption in business” (74,9%). In four out of five oblasts targeted by this analysis, high-level corrupt behaviors are also seen as the most troubling of all corruption types listed. Respondents from Sumska oblast were the only ones, who indicated that “petty corruption” (89,9%) was more serious than “political corruption” (86,4%). They also highlighted corruption in busines at 85,3% – more than other oblasts, as if to say that all three types were equally corrosive. Residents from Kyivska, Poltavska, Cherkaska and Chernihivska oblasts moved political corruption to the top of the pedestal.
  • In line with responses to the questions noted above, Ukrainians tend to believe that corruption is prevalent in Ukraine. On a scale from 1 to 5, where higher points mean ‘common’, 63,0% of the respondents all over the country chose ‘5’ and 23,1% indicated ‘4’ in their responses. In all targeted oblasts respondents chose the highest point, suggesting very high corruption prevalence (68,0% for Kyivska, 58,5% for Poltavska, 76,1% for Sumska, 67,3% for Cherkaska and 77,1% for Chernihivska). Results obtained from Sumska (76,1%) and Chernihivska (77,1%) oblasts are significantly higher than the national average of 63,0%; results from the remaining oblasts were more in line with the nation-wide perception.
  • In the nation-wide average, Ukrainians indicated that the overall, abstract, levels of corruption over the last two years have either ‘increased’ (34,1%) or have ‘remained the same’ (52,4%) with only a small fraction noting that corruption prevalence levels have ‘decreased’ (4,3%). The five oblasts demonstrate a comparable picture. Even in the most optimistic of cases (Cherkaska oblast), the number of those believing that corruption is shrinking was at 7,6%. Residents of Chernihivska oblast are the biggest pessimists – with 46,7% noting that, in their mind, the situation with corruption has deteriorated. Residents in Poltavska oblast believe, more than any of the oblasts in focus, that corruption has mostly ‘remained the same’ (57,0%).
  • In subsequent questionnaire sections, Ukrainians were asked to note whether corruption, in their mind, was widespread in certain governance structures and entities. Verkhovna Rada topped the list of institutions perceived to be have ‘very widespread’ corruption (64,5%), followed by the Cabinet of Ministers (52,9%), the President and his Office (40,4%), oblast-level authorities (38,5%) and, finally, the local self-government (29,2%). Oblast-level data suggests that corruption in the Parliament and Government is perceived as more prevalent, compared to the local level. In contrast to the national-level, respondents in Poltavska and Sumska oblasts believed that their respective local self-government bodies had higher levels of corruption than the President and his Office: 29,6% and 34,0% for perceived local government corruption prevalence and 26,7% and 30,9% for the President and his Office in the two oblasts respectively. Chernihivska oblast respondents were amongst those who have the largest disconnect in views on the national and local level – they believed that the Parliament and the Cabinet had much higher corruption prevalence rates (74,4% and 67,1% respectively) than local government structures in the oblast (12,6%).
  • As far as law enforcement and specialized anti-corruption agencies are concerned, Ukrainians are somewhat skeptical about integrity of these institutions – they believe that corruption is ‘very widespread’ in the Security Service of Ukraine (33,8%), National Anti-Corruption Bureau (29,4%), Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (29,8%), National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (29,4%), High Anti-Corruption Court (29,9%), and the State Bureau of Investigations (27,8%). The five oblasts have varied levels of pessimism about corruption prevalence in each of these institutions and sometimes have significant gaps between the highest and lowest values reported. Residents in Cherkaska oblast were, generally, the most pessimistic of the oblasts in the macro-region. Respondents from Cherkaska and Chernihivska oblasts mistrusted integrity of NABU (39,4% and 37,2% compared to the national average of 29,4%) and HACC (44,9% and 45% in contrast with the national average of 29,9%). NAPC was believed to have very high corruption levels by residents of Sumska (38,7%) and Cherkaska (40,2%) oblasts – against the national average of 29,4%; Sumska oblast respondents also believed that SSU has a severe corruption problem (45,4% compared to the 33,8% at the national level).
  • Overall, corruption is believed to be widespread in thematic sectors – both in those, where Ukrainians have more frequent contacts with the relevant authorities (leaning towards experience-based assessment of prevalence), and those where real-life contacts are almost nonexistent (as such, representing pure perceptions). The study asked respondents to indicate whether they believe corruption to be prevalent in 21 life situations or with certain agencies. Notably, Ukrainians on average believe corruption to be less widespread with school administrations and among teachers (14,6%), at centers for administrative service provision (14,7%), or when one is faced with receiving a loan from a state institution (18,9%). Instead, corruption is seen as ‘very widespread’ in customs (55,1%), in the court (54,8%) and prosecution systems (46,4%) and in the healthcare realm (46,1%). At the oblast-level, respondents in four out of five oblasts spoke of the court system as, perceivably, the most corrupt institution (Kyivska – 43,3%, Poltavska – 54,9%, Cherkaska – 66,6%, Chernihivska 64,6%). Residents of Sumska oblast believed that healthcare (33,4%) and the prosecution (33,2%) were most plagued by corruption. School administrations and teachers were ranked at the bottom of the list of the most corruption prone institutions by residents of Chernihivska oblast, where 1,5% of the respondents believed schools to have ‘very widespread’
  • Throughout the survey, respondents were asked to select up to three core reasons for prevalence of corruption in the Ukrainian society. Both the all-Ukrainian dataset and the narrower, regional one suggest that corruption exists and can proliferate primarily due to no adequate sanctions for it: “no adequate punishment for corruption” tops the list for all five oblasts in the macro-region (Kyivska – 54,9%, Poltavska – 50,2%, Sumska – 52,3%, Cherkaska – 60,1%, Chernihivska – 71,8%). Other options included the low level of public awareness about rules and procedures of government entities (Poltavska – 16,4%, Sumska – 16,3%); other poll participants blamed dishonesty of politicians and public officials (Kyivska – 15,7%). Other options received much smaller shares of responses.
  • An insightful contrast may be observed when comparing responses to the two questions, based on the corruption prevalence perceptions that have been described up until now. Nation-wide analysis has demonstrated an almost perfectly inverted picture of responses to the questions of “who is responsible for overcoming corruption” and whether these same entities are “willing to overcome corruption in Ukraine”. Thus, national-level data suggests that those entities that are seen as responsible for countering corruption (state entities) are not willing to overcome it, and, vice versa, entities that are not viewed accountable for anti-corruption action (mass media, NGOs, businesses or common citizens) are believed to be the ones most willing to fight the corruption scourge. National-level analysis results show that the President and his Office are viewed at the ones most responsible for combatting corruption in Ukraine (55,0%) followed by the Parliament (49,1%) and only then – the Government (31,8%). The second “tier” of responsibility for anti-corruption action is reserved for the specialized agencies and law enforcement entities: ranging from the High Anti-Corruption Court (26,3%) and descending to the National Police (13,4%). Local governance entities (9,5%) and oblast authorities (8,4%) are seen almost on par with ordinary citizens (8,5%), media (1,9%), NGOs (1,8%) and businesses (1,3%).

Data broken down by the oblast shows some variability and the case of Sumy oblast is of special interest. Four out of five oblasts are aligned with the all-national trend, whereas they view the President and his Office the ones most responsible for overcoming corruption in Ukraine (Kyivska – 65,0%, Poltavska – 61,7%, Cherkaska – 55,6%, Chernihivska – 84,5%). Sumska oblast residents are a significant outlier, putting most of their faith in specialized anti-corruption institutions: 46,4% selecting NABU, 45,8% – SAPO, 45,1% – HACC and 42,4% – NAPC. ‘Ordinary citizens’ as a response option gained between a low of 5,0% in Kyivska and a high of 12,3% in Cherkaska oblasts.

As far as willingness is concerned, ordinary citizens (67,0%), mass media (41,7%), NGOs (39,7%) and the business community (21,7%) are believed to long for effective anti-corruption transformations at the national level. Specialized bodies, the judiciary system, prosecution system and sub-national government bodies all fluctuate in perceived willingness between 6,4% (the judiciary) and 15,4% (local government). As far as the national level authorities are concerned in terms of nation-wide averages, the President and his Office are seen as the most willing state entity to act against corruption (19,4%) – much more willing than the Cabinet of Ministers (9,9%) or the Verkhovna Rada (7,1%). These latter results should be interpreted with care, though, as at the national level much is linked to the popularity of politicians in top-level positions (for instance, at the helm of the Cabinet or the Parliament and the President himself) rather than practical anti-corruption action.

At the oblast level, ‘ordinary citizens’, ‘mass media’ and ‘non-governmental organizations’ top the list of those, who are willing to overcome corruption in the five oblasts. Sumska oblast is an outlier on this aspect as well, with 31,5% of the residents believing that the President and his Office are willing to overcome corruption in contrast to the 19,4% national average (a 12% gap).

  • Ukrainians tend to believe that the authorities are, for the most part, ‘not effective at all’ in fighting corruption (on a scale of 1 to 5 where 1 means total lack of effectiveness). Thus, 38,5% believed that the government was ‘totally ineffective’ (1 point) and 31,9% noted that such efforts were ‘ineffective’ (2 points). Only 3,0% of the respondents stated that state agencies were ‘very effective’ (5 points). Respondents from the five oblasts in the macro-region have, generally, remained skeptical of government-initiated anti-corruption efforts. The highest proportion of poll participants who believed that the government was effective in fighting corruption was in Kyivska oblast with mere 3,3% of the respondents. In four out of five oblasts residents believed that the government efforts were ‘totally ineffective’ (1 point): Kyivska – 36,9%, Sumska – 50,5%, Cherkaska – 48,7%, Chernihivska – 63,7%. In Poltavska oblast, the residents mostly opted for ‘ineffective’ (2 points) with 44,5% of the respondents selecting this option.


  • When analyzing and interpreting data on corruption, one should always be mindful of whether respondents voice their beliefs and share perceptions or, in contrast, report their life experiences. As shown above, Ukrainians tend to see high-level, political corruption as the biggest challenge for Ukraine, and – in general – believe that the situation with corruption is stagnant or deteriorating. At the same time, real-life experiences reported by the citizens are related to everyday situations they face when dealing with government authorities. Even in oblasts with the highest level of corruption-related experience reported, only two out of ten respondents or fewer have faced corruption-related situations in the last 12 months. Thus, residents of Kyivska and Cherkaska oblasts have answered affirmatively in 23,6% and 22,0% cases respectively. These are two highest rates among the five oblasts in focus. Chernihivska oblast has the lowest declared experience with corruption – only 3,0% of the respondents confirm that they or their family members have faced any form of corruption with any governmental officials including educational, medical or other organizations throughout the past 12 months.
  • Out of the 21 thematic areas and life situations listed for the respondents, the largest share of contacts with state authorities was with healthcare institutions – mostly state-owned ones (54,5% nationally; 56,8% in Kyivska, 44,2% in Poltavska, 42,0% in Sumska, 54,9% in Cherkaska and 41,5% in Chernihivska oblast). Since the number of contacts with other institutions was significantly smaller, it is hard to receive valid and representative data: in many cases at the oblast level fewer than 10% of respondents could say something about a given area. In the case of state-owned healthcare, respondents from the five oblasts reported extortion, when a bribe was demanded from them (largest shares of respondents in Sumska and Cherkaska oblasts – 26,0% and 27,9% respectively), situations where they initiated a bribe or gift to obtain services (most prevalent in Poltavska oblast with 15,1% of respondents) or, more seldom, used personal connections to receive health services (biggest shares in Poltavska and Kyivska oblasts with 11,0% and 10,4% respectively). In a somewhat unexplainable situation, residents of Chernihivska oblast noted that they faced almost none of these three phenomena in their dealings with healthcare institutions (extorted bribe – 1,2%; voluntary bribe – 0,6%; personal connections – 1,2%). Cherhihiv residents, at the same time, admitted to buying medicines or expendables before going to hospital (56,5%), paid money to “charitable foundations” (35,0%) and provided free services or paid unofficially in hospitals or policlinics in exchange of medical service (21,1%) – all in line with the remaining four oblasts. Among the five oblasts in focus, residents of Poltavska and Cherkaska oblasts had the largest shares of respondents who admitted purchasing medication and expendables as a condition of treatment (64,8% and 67,9% respectively). 42,0% of Cherkaska oblast residents also admitted to paying “charitable foundations” which is more often than any of the other four oblasts and almost 12% higher than the national average. 29,7% of Sumska oblast residents provided services free of charge or paid unofficially to receive medical treatment.

Intentions, opinions and motivations

  • When assessing the realm of corruption and anti-corruption action, it is insightful to probe for deeper motivations, drivers of action and opinions. Importantly, corruption is generally seen as an unwelcome, shameful phenomenon, thus making the respondents potentially vulnerable to the so-called “social desirability bias” – when answers provided are skewed as respondents try to voice support for what is seen as positive and socially-acceptable while shunning objectionable options. As such, it is not surprising that respondents tend to believe that corrupt behaviors have little excuse: nationwide three quarters of the respondents note that corruption is not justified ever (42,0%) or in most cases (33,2%). Only 2,2% as the national average believe that corrupt behaviors are always justified and 13,0% of the respondents can excuse corruption in most, but not all, cases. Oblast-level respondents were quite categorical in their reactions to this question: thus, almost ¾ of Sumska and Chernihivska oblast respondents (72,7% and 73,9% respectively) posited that corruption could never be justified, even if it was important for solving a problem important to them. Poltavska oblast residents were less harsh in their beliefs, noting in 34,1% of the cases that corruption is unjustified in most cases. All of the oblasts in focus have provided a “socially desirable” opinion.
  • While corruption is oftentimes seen as an encroachment on the rights of a person (for instance, denial of a legitimate service), respondents were asked whether they would be ready to stand up to defend their rights as they interact with the state machinery. Poltava and Sumy residents (20,7% and 22,7% respectively) declared their rightful belligerence against those, who violate their rights, and noted they were ‘totally ready’ to stand up for themselves. Residents of Chernihivska oblast were much less sure about their readiness to speak up and fight for their rights – 40,1% noted that they felt not ready at all to do anything about their rights when dealing with bureaucrats. While the sample in this next question is very small (thus cautioning against in-depth comparison or far-reaching conclusions), responses suggest that Ukrainians both nationwide and in the five oblasts are reluctant to stand up for their rights, when violated by state entities, because they believe that citizens would not succeed in re-claiming these rights. Notably, residents of Sumska oblast were concerned about being persecuted or blacklisted for trying to fight back. Respondents from Sumska and Cherkaska oblasts also noted they did not know where to appeal to in response to their rights being violated.
  • While discussing the measures to tackle corruption, four approaches stood out in the national poll averages – ensuring inevitable punishment for corruption (26,0%), removing immunity from MPs in Parliament (23,1%), removing corrupt officials from office and debarring them from re-entry (17,2%) and defining the mandates of authorities clearly and enhancing their internal anti-corruption protections (15,0%). While the order of preference was different for each oblast, these four options remained at the top of the list with 10 approaches offered. Residents in Kyivska (36,0%), Sumska (20,8%), and Cherkaska (31,1%) oblasts noted removal of parliamentary immunity as an effective instrument. Respondents in Poltavska (27,7%), Sumska (32,0%), Cherkaska (32,4%) and Chernihivska (35,0%) oblasts spoke for inevitability of sanctions for corrupt behaviors. Residents of Poltavska (22,5%) and Chernihivska (19,4%) oblasts also believed that corruption could be tackled by defining clear mandates for government institutions and strengthening internal anti-corruption controls.
  • The final three questions are better viewed through a consolidated prism, as they all refer to declared readiness to partake in anticorruption action, as well as the stimulating or debilitating factors for such action. The national-level averages suggest that Ukrainians are most comfortable to initiating or signing petitions to government bodies of all levels (23,4%) and reporting corruption to the media or sharing stories through social media to draw attention to these cases and build societal pressure (22,3%). Residents of Chernihivska oblast were amongst those least interested in initiating and signing petitions (9,7%), while respondents from Cherkaska oblast had the highest declared readiness for participating in public rallies or protests (19,4% against the national average of 11,0%).

The top-three motivating factors at the national level included the feeling that the case in point was important for the respondent or their family (71,5%), guarantees of anonymity and security for those who partake in anti-corruption action (66,6%) and availability of accessible and simple mechanisms for participation (64,0%). Regional disaggregation of data suggests that residents in Kyivska and Poltavska oblasts were closest in their opinions to the national average. Respondents from Sumska oblast noted multiple response options with a very small difference between them as if to suggest that all listed options were motivating for them. Respondents from Chernihivska oblast were hardest to motivate – this oblast has the highest proportion of those, who are ‘not motivated at all’ by all listed options.

Meanwhile, physical insecurity (74,1%), disbelief in effectiveness of one’s actions (70,7%) and the lack of trust towards anti-corruption authorities (69,3%) topped the list of disempowering factors in the national averages. At the regional level respondents also quoted the lack of awareness about effective anti-corruption tools (74,4% – Poltavska and 66,4% – Chernihivska oblasts), the fear of retaliation at work or a backlash at schoolchildren (62,9% – Chernihivska oblast), lack of trust to anti-corruption CSOs (60,1% – Sumska and 64,5% – Chernihivska oblasts) and fatigue from anti-corruption issues (62,1% – Sumska oblast).

Where does this leave us?

This note has looked more attentively at the macro-region comprised of five oblasts in the northern and central part of Ukraine. Overall, respondents in Kyivska, Poltavska, Sumska, Cherkaska and Chernihivska oblasts shared opinions comparable to the nation-wide sentiments[i]. A summary of the poll findings may be presented in these ten points:

  1. Corruption is reported as the number one concern at the national level. The regional level is more nuanced, and a higher margin of error does not allow to posit that corruption is the main issue for the five oblasts. Nevertheless, corruption is mentioned as a significant concern in the macro-region.
  2. Top-level, political corruption is seen as the biggest problem if compared to petty corruption and corruption in business at the national level. The same is true for Kyivska, Poltavska, Cherkaska and Chernihivska oblasts. Residents of Sumska oblast believe that petty corruption is more corrosive (the difference cannot be explained by the margin of error). Corruption in business is universally seen as a less serious challenge.
  3. Corruption is seen as ‘very common’ and ‘common’ by eight out of ten respondents in the national average, and the situation is comparable in the five target oblasts. Respondents in Sumska (93,5% of respondents – combined ‘very common’ and ‘common’ responses) and Chernihivska (94,9% – combined ‘very common’ and ‘common’ responses) seem to be especially pessimistic about corruption prevalence in the country.
  4. In terms of corruption dynamics over the last two years, even in case of the most optimistic respondents (Cherkaska oblast), less than one out of ten respondents believe that the levels of corruption have decreased. Most believe that the situation has remained the same or that corruption levels have increased (biggest pessimism in Chernihivska oblast with 46,7% as compared to 34,1% of the national average). At the same time, this piece of data has to be interpreted cautiously – comparison with previous years suggests that Ukrainians face corruption less frequently in real life than in previous years. Instead, perceptions of corruption prevalence are impacted not only by personal experience (petty corruption for the most part) but also by the societal narratives and the stories promoted by the media.
  5. Well in line with the overall trend to see most corruption originating at the high, political level, Ukrainians believe that central government bodies (Parliament, Cabinet of Ministers, the President and his Office) generally have higher levels of corruption than local self-government bodies. Corruption is seen as “an issue somewhere out there, in high offices”. At the same time, Poltavska and Sumska oblast respondents believe that prevalence of corruption in the Office of the President is lower than in the local self-government. The President and his Office are believed to be the least corrupt out of the national government triad (Parliament, Cabinet and President).
  6. Ukrainians overall see the President and his Office and the Parliament as two entities most responsible for fighting corruption. The situation is similar in four out of five oblasts – in a very notable outlier, residents of Sumska oblast believe that specialized anti-corruption agencies, such as NABU, NAPC, SAPO and HACC, have highest responsibility for tackling graft. This difference cannot be explained by the margin of error. Despite this outlier case, in the eye of most respondents, political will for change seems to be given priority over strength of specialized anti-corruption institutions, which are located closer to the middle of the “responsibility rating” (all oblasts but Sumy). Citizens, mass media, NGOs and businesses are seen as much less responsible for acting. In turn, the “willingness rating”, i.e. the listing of institutions and entities that are seen as wishing to overcome corruption, is almost perfectly inverted. Respondents all over Ukraine and in the five target oblasts believe that ordinary citizens, media, NGOs, and businesses are willing to overcome corruption, while government entities are not seen as champions in this realm. The President and his Office as well as local self-government are amongst the most “willing” of all government entities listed.
  7. Real-life exposure to corruption-related situations has been decreasing over the years. In the national average, only 16 out of 100 Ukrainians faced corruption in any form directly or through their relatives throughout the past year. Oblast-level data is in line with the situation observed at the national level with the highest rates of real-life corruption exposure in Kyivska (23,6%) and Cherkaska (22,0%) oblasts. Residents of Chernihivska oblast claim they hardly ever face corruption (96,7% stating they have not experienced such situations throughout the past year). This, once again, is important to emphasize in light of corruption prevalence perceptions and the importance ascribed to different levels of corruption (high-level and political, petty or business-related).
  8. Out of the 21 life situations and institutions included into the questionnaire, over half of the respondents at the national level dealt with the healthcare system (overwhelmingly, state-owned healthcare institutions). Respondents from the five targeted oblasts echoed this finding with the lowest share of healthcare system contracts in Chernihivska (41,5%) and Sumska (42,0%) oblasts. When dealing with Ukrainian healthcare, respondents reported extorted bribes or unofficial payments as well as voluntary, citizen-initiated payments and use of personal contacts to obtain necessary care.
  9. In line with the national-level averages, Ukrainians in the five target oblasts believe that inevitability of prosecution (punishment) for corruption is a crucial deterrent for corrupt behaviors. Other popular anti-corruption measures include stripping members of Parliament from their immunity, preventing corrupt officials from taking office again, and making sure that authorities have clearly delineated responsibilities accompanied by inter-institutional anti-corruption mechanisms.
  10. There are multiple catalysts and inhibitors for anti-corruption action by the citizens. Respondents both in the national-level averages and in the five target oblasts are more likely to act against corruption if the issue at hand is important to them and if there are adequate protections against retaliation for anti-corruption action. Some of the top-ranking inhibitors include potential physical insecurity for self or family members, disbelief that such action could change anything, and the lack of trust to the relevant authorities, as anti-corruption champions.

The Anticorruption Perception and Experience poll is a unique longitudinal study on Ukraine’s population perceptions and actual experience of corruption. The study was conducted in 2007, 2009, 2011, 2015, 2018 and 2021 with samples over 10’000 respondents each time, thus enabling oblast-level comparison of data. The random samples are representative of the adult population (18+) from all oblasts of Ukraine and Kyiv city. Temporarily occupied territories of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, and certain areas of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (non-government controlled areas) were excluded from the 2015-2021 surveys. The sample was shaped as a multistage random sample with quota selection at the last stage. Interviews were provided face-to-face, every time. The margin of effort is ≤ 1.5% for the cases where data is of the whole, nation-wide sample.

The biennial nation-wide large-scale Anticorruption Perception and Experience poll was started in 2007 and 2009 by Management Systems International (MSI) and continued in 2011, 2015, 2018 and 2021 by Pact Inc. with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The polling data, its interpretations, and resulting analytics are the sole responsibility of Pact and its implementing partners and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government. Globally, Pact builds systemic solutions in partnership with local organizations, businesses, and governments that create sustainable and resilient communities where those we serve are heard, capable, and vibrant. On the ground in nearly 40 countries, Pact’s integrated adaptive approach is shaping the future of international development.