Travelling abroad and geopolitical preferences – case of Kharkiv, Dnipro and Mariupol, Ukraine
The paper investigates the relationship between travel abroad experience and individual geopolitical preferences in three geopolitical fault-line cities in the eastern part of Ukraine. Employing binary logistic regression as a principal research method, we show that travel experience to European countries positively correlates with pro-European attitudes and corresponds to weaker pro-Soviet sentiments. On the contrary, travel experience to Russia is associated with somewhat weaker support for European geopolitical and cultural integration but stronger pro-Soviet sentiments. Travel experience to Russia is less important predictor of geopolitical preferences than visiting European countries. Pro-European attitudes, compared with pro-Soviet sentiments, are much more interlinked with international travel experience. The data on bilateral travellers evidences that possible effect of visiting European countries basically neutralises the effect of visiting Russia in terms of impact on geopolitical preferences. Although the relationship between travel abroad experience and geopolitical preferences is similar in all three cities under investigation, certain variations between them may be explained by different economic, socio-cultural and institutional background. The revealed correlations seem to cover both direct causal effect of travel abroad on geopolitical preferences and a reverse causality, namely self-selection of destination country according to personal pre-existing geopolitical views. The importance of discovered relationships for the integration of Ukrainian society into European civilization project is apparent not only considering visa-free regime between Ukraine and the European Union (EU), but also in view of the Russian military invasion in 2022 as a cause of flows of refugees from Ukraine to Europe.
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Copyright (c) 2022 Oleksiy Gnatiuk, Kostyantyn Mezentsev, Grygorii Pidgrushnyi
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