The survey findings show the dramatic increase of Ukrainians – from 57% in 2012 to 76% in 2022 – who call the Ukrainian language their mother tongue.
By contrast, the number of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine has dropped to 20% in 2022 compared to 42% in 2012. The language law adopted by pro-Russian government in 2012, Maydan events and following Russian annexation of Crimea in 2014 are largely cited as the reasons behind the trend that saw more Russian-speaking people identifying themselves as Ukrainians.
It also prompted a shift in the attitude to the Ukrainian language in the central and southeastern regions of the country.
At least 40% of Ukrainians identified themselves as Russian-speaking in 2012. Today the figure sits at only 18%.
More Russian-speaking Ukrainians are switching to a bilingual mode in everyday life with the number of such people going from 15% in 2012 to 32% in 2022. It is worth mentioning that the number of people who cite Ukrainian as a language of preference has grown by 4 points – from 44% to 48%.
The survey results show that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians (83%) are in favor of Ukrainian remaining the sole state language. This sentiment is dominant in all regions regardless of age and language preferences.
By contrast, there is a pronounced lack of enthusiasm about granting such ‘state status’ to Russian as only 7% of Ukrainians support this idea. It is a significant drop compared to 2012 when it was backed by 1 in 4 Ukrainians (25%).
In a clear indication that the language split in Ukraine was blown up out of proportion, the survey results show that 67% of Ukrainians, both Ukrainian and Russian speaking, said they face no language issues whatsoever with only 19% citing it as a minor issue for the country.