The Representation of citizens’ Foreign Policy orientations by Ukraine’s Dominant Politicians: Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych.

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Ivanov, O. V.
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University of Glasgow
One of the most prominent issues which divide publics in Ukraine into separate and often antagonistic groups is the vector of foreign policy, especially the way of building relations with Russian Federation. Rather common among Ukrainian political experts and laymen is conception of “pro- vs anti-Russian” publics which have respective representatives among political elites. The object of our study is public communication of political elites as a form of social and political representation. Thus the purpose of our study is to reveal to which extent electoral factor (public opinion of respective constituencies) influence on elites’ public communication content in sphere of relations with Russia. The scope of our study is limited to the period 2005-2008 and three most influential politicians of that time —Yushchenko, Tymoshenko, Yanukovych. Factor analysis of 152 public opinion polls is used to reveal the most dividing issues in Ukraine-Russia relations; semi-automated content-analysis is used to code and aggregate political leaders’ messages about these issues; time series analysis is used to reveal synchrony of communication with constituency preferences. The study suggests that Ukrainian politicians generally represent orientations of their respective electorates, but they fail to do it systematically, do not react to public opinion changes, and systematically contradict their constituencies on several issues.
public communication, political elites, foreign policy, foreign orientations, Ukraine, Russia, content analysis, political representation, public opinion, політичні еліти, Україна, Росія, контент-аналіз, громадська думка
Ivanov O. The Representation of Foreign Policy by Ukraine’s Politicians: Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Yanukovych : Presentation. CRCEES IV Annual Research Forum. Session “Contemporary Ukraine” / Glasgow, University of Glasgow. – 2011. – 12–13 May.