Ratings of Ukrainian Сities
Experts of Information and Analytical Center «RATING Pro» have analyzed the results of surveys of Sociological Group «Rating», conducted on order of the International Republican Institute with support of the Government of Canada in March 2015 (17,600 respondents) and February 2016 (19,200 respondents) among the citizens of all oblast centers of Ukraine, and also Kyiv, Mariupol, and Sievierodonetsk.
According to the surveys’ results the following conclusions can be made:
- The survey of the dynamics in index of satisfaction with the quality of public goods and services during the last year provides reasons to state: despite difficult economic and socio-political situation in the country citizens of a significant number of oblast centers are satisfied with the situation in their cities, moreover, tend to consider that things on the local level are going in the right direction and support local authorities.
- Leadership positions in this year rating of the public goods and services’ quality, just like one year ago, are given to Vinnytsa, Kharkiv, and Lviv. Also, good positions are given to Khmelnytskyi and Lutsk (their rating has somewhat increased during the year), Ternopil (the rating has somewhat decreased), Rivne, Mariupol, Cherkasy. Positive dynamics is demonstrated by Ivano-Frankivsk and Kyiv.
- Cities of the Southern region are completing the overall rating – Odesa, Mykolaiv, and Kherson, the indicators of which have worsened during the year. Also, at the low positions are Zaporizhia, Chernihiv, Kirovograd, Sumy, Dnipropetrovsk, and Uzhgorod. All the above-mentioned cities took the low rates according to results of the previous survey (March 2015) as well, among them only Sumy has improved the overall indicator of satisfaction with the public goods and services’ quality; the rest of the cities either have not changed their indicators or have worsened them.
- Generally speaking, respondents gave rather high rates to the activities of communal and humanitarian enterprises. Instead, in oblast centers, people are the least satisfied with the quality of roads, industrial development, parking, and accessibility for people with disabilities. During last year, the quality rates of medical institutions have significantly worsened, and that is typical for all the researched cities.
- Effective activities of the city council make a positive influence on the socio-political situation in the cities and level of local patriotism: in the vast majority of the cities with high rates of the public goods and services’ quality the level of pride for the city is also high. Moreover, in these oblast centers citizens are also satisfied with the local elections results, what causes a positive impact on the assessment of the city’s development vector in general. In fact, it can be assumed that positive rates of the city council’s activities partially compensate negative perception of the situation in the country in general.
- Among central authorities’ institutions, relatively more trusted is President, among local authorities’ institutions – Mayor. Along with that, local authorities are much more trusted as compared to central.
- In the cities with high index of the public goods and services’ quality positive attitude toward Mayor dominates negative. Similar correlation is seen in terms of comparison of the approval balances between Parliament and city councils’ activities.
- Among institutions, the best attitudes among citizens can be seen toward church, army, National Guard, non-governmental organizations, and mass media. Meanwhile, local media are more trusted as compared to national.
- Start of the new Police activities meets the expectations of the society – the rates of the institution activities have improved remarkably. At the same time, in the vast majority of cities, there is an increase of trust in police institution as such, and the best dynamics is performed by Lviv and Kyiv, which were the first to implement Patrol police. Generally, there is increase in the approval level of the Police activities in those exact cities where it is already operating. It can be stated that given reform has made rather positive impact on the personal security sense in big cities. Generally, during the year, the situation in this area has significantly improved. Nevertheless, it is worth mentioning that in comparison with EU countries citizens’ personal security sense in Ukraine remains at rather low level.
- Though the situation with corruption perception has slightly improved, bribery still remains a serious problem in regions. Nevertheless, the number of people who consider a gift to a local official (in order to settle personal issues) as corruption act is constantly growing – in this context, in the majority of cities, the frequency of corruption acts either has decreased or, at least, has not changed. The biggest number of corruption acts was recorded in Uzhgorod (just like one year ago).
- During the year, the aggregate index of the assessment of interaction with local authorities has grown up. The best rated is the manner in which local authorities treat citizens; on a contrary, the worst rated is waiting time. Most often with the local authorities have contacted citizens of Vinnytsa, Cherkasy, Khmelnytskyi, Chernivtsi, and Kherson.
- Despite the increase in the rates of interaction with local authorities, regarding the index of assessment of city council’s activities in terms of areas the following trend is recorded: high rates were given to the city council for improving city’s image and public safety (what is more obviously related to the implementation of Police). Instead, the lowest rates were given to the city council by the criterion of responsive attitude to citizen priorities and facilitation of public participation in decision-making process.
- Despite the fact that the head of the city institution is more trusted as compared to the city council, the majority of decisions related to city governance must be made on the city council’s level, not by the mayor personally. Such decisions as a merger with other cities and villages into a combined community, establishment or dismantlement of monuments, changing topographic names (streets, cities, etc.), and dismissal of the head of local police might be made throughout citizens’ participation in a local referendum. Central authorities’ participation, in general, is preferred to be minimal.
- Effective self-organization of population into OSBB and OSN contributes to a positive attitude toward such public initiatives. Almost three quarters of those involved in such establishments tend to assess their activities positively and consider that it did help to solve problem issues in their buildings, quarters, or micro-districts.
- Priority areas of the economy for the city development are considered to be: light and food industry (almost all the cities of Ukraine), machine building (the majority of cities at the South and East), chemical industry (Sumy, Sievierodonetsk), scientific research (Kharkiv, Sievierodonetsk), construction (Mykolaiv, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Sumy, Khmelnytskyi), trade (Lutsk, Khmelnytskyi, Odesa, Kherson, Zhytomyr). The development of tourism is seen as the priority for the city’s economic development in Ivano-Frankivsk, Uzhgorod, Odesa, Lviv, Chernivtsi, and Kyiv. IT sector – Kyiv and Lviv.
Generally speaking, in the background of the crisis of trust in central authorities’ institutions, trust in local institutions and public initiative on the cities’ level are improving, what may promote the effectiveness of decentralization processes in Ukraine.
The survey has revealed that the vast majority considers citizens’ participation in authorities’ decision-making process as important. Still, not all of them are ready to join the city council’s proposals development process, moreover, those who are ready to join this process, are more likely to do this on a volunteer basis, than for reward.
Also, the survey has revealed that the increase of public initiative and participation in city council’s activities makes a positive influence on the democratization of Ukrainian society. Results of the research have demonstrated the trend: in regions with higher demand for participation in city council’s activities, attitude toward a democratic system of government and European integration moods are also at high level. Moreover, these regions show the higher level of optimism toward the economic situation of Ukraine in the nearest future.