A new CNN Comres poll is being spun as showing Ukrainian “loyalty” to Europe, but actually reflects a long-standing regional divide between east and west that is as dramatic as ever.
Though the poll’s nationwide figures showed majority support for joining the European Union (54%), the eastern regional data showed only 14% even supporting the idea of allying with the EU.
The eastern data is somewhat distinct from the protest region, as it includes not only Donetsk and Luhansk, but also Kharkiv, which is under a military occupation right now.
For the east, the EU is a distant third place option, with 37% supporting alliance with Russia and 49% thinking that not allying with either side would be the best bet for the country’s future.
The figures reflect a split between eastern Ukraine and the western region that has existed as long as Ukraine has been independent, with each side seeing their future as inexorably tied to nations they border.