Monthly Archive: November 2000

NATIONAL POLL 11’00

1. Title of the study: “Belarus on the threshold of the XXI century: ways of social transformations”.
2. Topics of thematic coverage: political, social and economic factors of transformations of Belarusian society, preparation to presidential elections.
3. The aim: to study the most important facilitators and obstacles of development of Belarusian society, to support Belarusian democratic forces for social transformations
4. Descriptors: market, economic attitudes, socio-political positions and attitudes, integration, free and democratic election, electoral behavior, opposition, political preferences, political parties, mass media
5. Comparability: most important questions were replicated
6. Geographical area: Belarus-national
7. Principal investigator: IISEPS
8. Polling organization: IISEPS, P.O.B. 219, Minsk, 220030, Belarus, e-mail: iiseps@iiseps.org
9. Fieldwork dates: 2000, November
10. Population sampled: 18+ years old residents of Belarus who are not currently in hospital, jail, military service
11. Sampling: clustered random
12. Sample size: 1489 respondents
13. Mode of interviews: face-to-face interview
14. Interviewers: part-time and university students
15. Control: selective control of interviewers
16. Related publications: more then 10 publications in mass media
17. Availability of the original data sets: contact with IISEPS
18. Source of information: IISEPS

 

ELECTION PROCESS: OPINIONS OF THE ELITE

During a national poll, less than 50% of respondents could give a definite answer to this question. This was not only caused by a tradition to believe the official point of view, advocated in the most easily accessible mass media, but also by general indifference towards parliamentarism and democracy as a whole. The group, which disagreed with the view of the opposition and the technical mission of the OSCE (28.0%), is dominated by A. Lukashenko’s convinced supporters.

ECONOMY AND LIFE: OPINION OF THE BELARUSIANS

The analysis of respondents’ answers shows that the general public traditionally sees social and economic problems as the most urgent. Table 1 shows that the most serious problems are always price growth, impoverishment of people and unemployment. However, their aggregate rating has had a tendency to decrease slowly over the last two years.

MASS MEDIA IN THE FRAMEWORK OF THE BELARUSIAN SOCIETY

What place do mass media currently occupy among other institutions in the Belarusian society? What social transformation do they facilitate? These questions are complicated enough, because one can answer them from multiple points of view – the political perspective (the place of mass media in the political system), the economic perspective (their place in the economic system), the legal perspective (their place in the legal system), social and cultural perspective (their place in the cultural framework) etc. Let us try to answer these questions from a sociological perspective and explain how mass media are viewed by society, and what are the results of the interaction between the two.

EASTERN POLICY NEEDS TO BE ADJUSTED

A Russian proverb says: ”If somebody is lying in the center of the road, he gets ran over”. In our case the opposition may meet this tragic end. And the factor, which may ruin it, is the relations with Russia. Let us remind you that this factor together with the concept of two national languages were among the reasons why S. Shushkevich and Z. Paznyak lost the presidential elections in spring 1994. Today’s situation is very similar. It is all the more dangerous because opponents of the present regime keep chanting their old party slogans and make believe that everything is OK. If somebody thinks that the opposition has left it all behind, we would recommend them to read the criteria for a democratic candidate for presidency, adopted by a BPF session.

PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS, AS THEY ARE VIEWED BY THE ELITE

Table 1 shows that the overwhelming majority of opinion leaders (90.6%), regardless of the structures which they represent, do not want Alexander Lukashenko to be president of Belarus for another term. Therefore, elections are an important issue for them, as well as the question, who a possible candidate for presidency may be.

PRESIDENTIAL RACE BEGINS: HOW TO AVOID FALSE START?

The analysis of changes of A. Lukashenko’s rating over the last year allows us to make a conclusion that it is on a downward trend. It is not a “collapse” (which is one of the president’s favorite catchwords), but neither is it a temporary thing. It is a stable and unswerving trend. Strange as it may seem, its insignificant fluctuations were not caused by domestic politics, but rather by the developments abroad, primarily in Russia: