Ukraine in the Eyes of Germany – Images and Perceptions of a Country in Transition
Study on the Perception of Ukraine in Germany
“The Germans’ attitude towards Ukraine is rather sceptical, not very benevolent. One would actually expect something different towards a country that is fighting for its independence and for democratic structures.” That – in a nutshell – is the result of the perception study “Ukraine in the Eyes of Germany”, commissioned by the Bureau für Zeitgeschehen (BfZ) from the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) in Kiev three years after the Maidan revolution in 2017.
Indeed, until the Euro-Maidan, Ukraine lacked an independent perception and identity; Europe’s second-largest country played at best a subordinate role in public perception. If at all, the country was perceived as part of the so-called “post-Soviet space” between East and West. The Euro-Maidan, the Russian annexation of Crimea, and the war in eastern Ukraine have ended this shadowy existence.
The perception study contributes to the debate on Ukraine’s future embedding in a newly emerging European political order. It shows how the image of Ukraine in Germany has developed since the events in Kiev in the winter of 2013/2014 and how the lives of the people in Ukraine and the reform process there are perceived from a critical external perspective. Regardless of different perceptions: Germany is a key partner for Ukraine on its path to a self-determined European future.