Monthly Archive: April 2000

BELARUSIANS DO NOT OBSERVE THE LAW BUT PREFER SEPARATION OF POWERS

What is the role of law in the life of the Belarusian society? Does it understand its importance and value or does it consider law to be a useless and unnecessary thing? How are human rights observed? This problem is an important one, which is indicated by the question “What would you do first if you become president of Belarus?”: the answers “I would make laws work” and “I would destroy mafia” top the chart (Table 1).

BELARUSIANS DO NOT SUPPORT ALEXANDER LUKASHENKO’S ECONOMIC COURSE

Three years ago slightly less than 66% of respondents said that they preferred a market economy with various degrees of involvement from the state (Table 1). Today this model is supported by almost 75% of respondents. At the same time, the number of people who choose the socialist-type administrative economy diminished by 7.6%. So, A. Lukashenko’s recent statements in the lower chamber of “parliament”, that his economic course is correct and is supported by all the population, look hypocritical.

BELARUSIANS STILL PREFER A COMPROMISE

This year the authorities announced the beginning of “a broad social dialogue”, which replaced the stopped negotiations with the opposition. It is rumored, that the dialogue is Minsk’s attempt to maintain a nice fa?ade while it enters into a bargain with the West. The essence of the bargain is that the authorities agree to change the conditions of parliamentary elections somewhat and the West recognizes their results. The whole process is under way without the formal participation of the third interested party – A. Lukashenko’s opponents. This position of the authorities is not supported by voters – around 33% of respondents (Table 1) think that the terms and conditions of

VOTERS WANT ELECTIONS

It is known that the parliamentary elections are going to be held this autumn. However, many problems regarding the elections are still unresolved. For instance, it is still unclear, to what agency will elections be held, as well as what its mandate will be. The authorities continue negotiations with the opposition about access to mass media and the Election code. Nevertheless, we need to know now, whom would the Belarusian electorate support if elections were held today. Table 1 shows us that the rating of the Belarusian political parties is still very low.

NO CHANGE IN THE WESTERN FRONT

It is widely known that a part of the Belarusian society feels a strong liking for Russia. Alexander Lukashenko’s negative attitude to influential international organizations and the West at large are also common knowledge. In his recent annual address about the situation in the country, which the president made in the Chamber of Representatives, he criticized a number of international financial and political structures again (including NATO, IMF, the Council of Europe etc.) Some of the Chamber Members went to even greater lengths, asking whether there was any reason for the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group to stay and work in Minsk.

NEW IDOL

V. Putin’s rapid emergence as Russia’s highest-ranking official and most popular person introduced sweeping change to the political situation not only in Russia, but also in Belarus. Shortly after V. Putin made his first moves in national politics, and the parliamentary bloc “Edinstvo” (Unity), which supported Putin, scored a brilliant success during the Russian State Duma elections, many observers concluded that A. Lukashenko’s aspirations to the Kremlin, which had been quite faint before, disappeared altogether. Now that V. Putin is new president of Russia, A. Lukashenko is losing the field in Belarus as well.