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First use of World Risk Poll 2021 data provides insights on Ukrainian and Russian public sentiment prior to invasion

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A report published today (15 June 2022) by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) uses data from Lloyd’s Register Foundation’s World Risk Poll (WRP) to provide insights on public sentiment and perception of risk in Ukraine and Russia prior to the invasion in February 2022.

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Ukrainians cited 'war and terrorism' as their biggest concern in 2021, despite ongoing conflict in the Donbas since 2014.

The Poll's findings

The Spotlight on Ukraine and Russia report, published alongside the latest edition of the IEP’s Global Peace Index (GPI), uses data from both the 2019 and 2021 editions of the WRP to show how public perceptions of different risks to their safety were changing in the two countries before the war.

The WRP data analysed by the IEP shows that:

  • Despite the conflict ongoing in the Donbas since 2014, war with Russia was not a major concern for most Ukrainians prior to the 2022 invasion. Concern about “war and terrorism” was the sixth highest ranked risk among WRP respondents in the country, behind risks related to health, transportation, and the economy. Only one in 15 Ukrainians named “war and terrorism” as their biggest concern in 2021.
  • There was a substantial increase in Ukrainians’ feelings of safety when compared to five years earlier. Between 2019 and 2021, the proportion of Ukrainians reporting feeling safer that they had five years previously increased by seven percentage points to 26% (more than a quarter) of the population. Conversely, the global average fell by almost 9 percentage points over the same period to 27.4%.
  • In contrast, the proportion of Russians feeling safer than five years’ prior fell between 2019 and 2021, in line with the global trend. The largest deterioration in sentiment in Russia was related to the economy; nearly three times as many people rated the economy as their top concern in 2021 compared to 2019.

Dr Sarah Cumbers, Former Director of Evidence and Insight at Lloyd’s Register Foundation, said: “It is an important part of our vision for the World Risk Poll to see other researchers and organisations making use of this unique global data resource to inform analysis and generate insights on a broad range of safety and risk issues.

“IEP’s analysis gives counter-intuitive but valuable context to the Ukraine war, particularly in terms of the deterioration in public sentiments identified in Russia prior to the invasion.

“We are looking forward to publishing the full findings of the 2021 World Risk Poll across the remainder of 2022, and will be encouraging a diverse range of stakeholders, including research institutes, NGOs, industry groups, national governments and international bodies to partner with us to make use of the data to inform policy and practice that makes people safer.”

The full results of the 2021 World Risk Poll will be published in four thematic instalments across the second half of 2022, with publication expected as follows:

  • July: perceptions and experiences of safety and risk before and after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • September: climate change and disaster resilience.
  • October: experience and reporting of violence and harassment at work.
  • November: perceptions of harm from artificial intelligence and misuse of personal information.

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