On an imaginary European integration map of Ukraine, Kharkiv is a city that sometimes combines mutually exclusive phenomena.
On the one hand, it is a front-line outpost, which in 2014 resisted the hybrid attacks of Russia, and on the other hand, an attractive place for Russians, who visit Kharkiv en masse for entertainment and shopping, in particular, at the Barabashov market. This is a motor city with universities, scholars, intellectuals, and rich intellectual tradition, from Yuriy Shevelyov to Serhiy Zhadan, but also a post-Soviet industrial urban center.
At the same time, Kharkiv is the most Eurosceptic city of Ukraine, after Severodonetsk and Mariupol, according to the recent poll conducted by Rating Sociological Group: in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s accession to the European Union is supported by only 32% of the population.
This number is only a few percent above the level of support for Ukraine’s accession to the Customs Union (27%).
It is important, however, to note that the level of support for European integration in Kharkiv region remains unchanged compared to the pre-war time: in 2013, opinion polls have shown a similar number of supporters of Ukraine’s accession to the EU.
However, the conflict with Russia and decline of pro-Russian sentiments compared to 2013 have not led to increase in the number of supporters of European integration; recent polls have recorded more those who can’t answer the question about the integration priorities of Kharkiv. So far, the respective figure reaches about a third of respondents.
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The policy brief was written as part of its project implemented under the USAID/ENGAGE activity, which is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Pact. The contents of this policy brief are the sole responsibility of New Europe Center, Pact and its implementing partners and do not necessary reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.