This article explores the political, economic, and social forces underlying the east/west cleavage in the 1994 Ukrainian presidential and parliamentary elections. We demonstrate that economic factors—notably, variations in regional economic strength and changes in employment in the period preceding the elections—are stronger predictors of country-wide voting behavior and candidate support than ethnic and linguistic factors. The exceptions are the extreme eastern and western oblasts, where the analysis suggests the existence of significant differences in political culture.
The article critically surveys the impact of domestic public opinion on foreign policy in Ukraine by integrating it within theories of public opinion. Studies of public opinion in Ukraine have not given due weight to the unique characteristics of the Ukrainian ‘public’, which differs greatly from the Western public. Ukrainian society is passive, atomized and its power is ‘submerged’ relative to that of the state. The article argues that public opinion is of minimal importance in the area of foreign policy.