What we have had… Since 1994 Institute of Social and Political Psychology (Ukraine) monitored political consciousness of the population and surveyed main tendencies for development of political and ideological views and attitudes of the Ukrainian citizens on the base of original psychosemantic methodic. The methodic allows an explicit analysis of the content of those psychological realities, which are hiding behind the casual percentage.
On the base of the factual material, which we have got from annual massive psychosemantic questionnaires (all-Ukraine random-sample, 2 000 persons), we built a model of a political-semantic space of a modern Ukrainian society (see picture). Our main methodological technique is evaluation by the respondents of their own agreement/disagreement with the content of about thirty-forty statements according to main political problems, taken from print mass media of different political directions. The base of the model consists of two factors, which were singled out as the result of quantitative analysis of factual material and stay for years as main ones.
The content of the first factor consists of evaluations, which reflects the respondents' attitude towards economical and political reforms (we called it "Reformative/Anti-Reformative attitudes). The attitude towards reforms points to an interesting peculiarity of mass consciousness of post-totalitarian, exUSSR society. All economical and ideological constructs merge into one - mainly ideological. So economical categories are subordinated to the political preferences in the minds of our people. For example, a person voting for reconstruction of the Soviet symbolism will approve with the high percentage of probability conservation of collective farms and disapprove private farming, and vice versa.
Picture 1. Dynamic of Ukrainian citizens' political consciousness in 1994-2002
The main problem in the factor's content is the attitude towards collective farms (in all their forms) and private farming: these statements are highly accentuated. So that is the main psychological and ideological problem for mass political consciousness in Ukraine.
The second group of statements creates the factor we called "Patriotic/pro-Russian attitudes". It's content reveals Ukraine-Russia relations, West-East orientation and so on.
The central is linguistic problem: whether it be Ukrainian monolinguality or Ukrainian-Russian bilinguality. And in this case we can also observe an important social-psychological phenomenon. In casual questionnaires when we are asking our respondents to choose important problems, linguistic problems are rarely chosen: about 7-10% from both sides. But actually these problems are far more important, psychologically "itching", which are potentially dangerous and may shake the mass consciousness up.
The space of our model reflects the essential multitude of political-ideological positions of Ukrainian citizens. Individual positions of the respondents cover all the model's space, but the thickness of layers is different.
The factual analysis procedure gives the opportunity to define the average positions of all respondents and their distinct groups. And the model clearly shows a directed movement of mass consciousness from "left" (Anti-Reformative and pro-Russian) to "right" (Reformative and Patriotic) political attitudes, though a bit wandered.
1994, the attitudes were altogether "left" (or rather left-centric), and that embodied in the results of that year presidential elections and the victory of "left" L.Kuchma.
At 1995 we could see notably "right" movement, more according to patriotic scale than reformative.
1996, the position of mass consciousness crossed the averaged level of "patriotic" scale and it was likely for Ukraine to become a seriously "right-centric" society.
But the year 1997 changed nothing, and in 1998 we observed a sudden "jump" to the "left" side of political spectrum. So according to the results of that year parliament election "the lefts" were not only undefeated but also became stronger.
1999 changed almost nothing in political-psychological situation of Ukraine: it became just a little bit more "left". And in the year 2000 the situation was still hanging about.
At 2001 we noted at last a sudden movement to the "right" and the reason was obviously a positive activity of V.Yuschenko cabinet. The Ukrainian mass consciousness crossed the Rubicon.
Still we must accentuate that these positive changes are of a very slow nature. Citizens conservatively stick to their own views and ideals. Though this slow ripening of mass consciousness is of a special value, because makes the society ideologically and psychologically immune against political and psychological techniques of a different kind (this phenomenon we could observe at 2002 parliament election).