Monthly Archive: November 2006

BULLETINS INFOFOCUS № 11

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 11, 2006 – ISSN 1822-5578 (only Russian) Content: Introduction Theme of the month: Russia-Belarus Presidential Meeting: Again Failed to Come to Agreement?.. Person of the month: Alexander Kozulin: Determination or Despair? Document of the month: New Europe’s Strategy for Belarus: Hope or Disappointment? Organization of the month: Scandal …

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A. MILINKEVICH’S RATING IS FALLING DOWN

* According to the results of the nation opinion polls conducted by independent sociologists (in all cases those face-to-face interviewed were approximately 1,500 persons aged 18 and over, margin of error didn’t exceed 0.03)

HOW FAR ARE WE FROM EUROPE?

Prof. Oleg Manaev answering to Arche’s questions*

“Arche”: What is Europe for you?

O.M.: I look at this from both geographic and cultural viewpoint. Geographically, this is the continent where we live and in the center of which Belarus is situated. Its continental peculiarities like landscape, climate, etc. are as well very important.

WHAT IS THE POTENTIAL OF RUSSIA-BELARUS FRIENDSHIP?

Sociologists are well aware that there are many objective factors as well as human factors that influence the formation of public opinion. The public opinion doesn’t work out notions of abstract matters that demand professional knowledge. How does it act then? It acts exactly like a visitor in a restaurant choosing from the menu. Who and why builds this menu is another question.

PARADOX OF THOSE NOT THINKING AND INDIFFERENT

Stated press conference of A. Lukashenko to mass media representatives was held on November 23. On the next day Sovetskaya Belorussia published a many-sheet record of the meeting and made a note at its very end that the record was insignificantly abridged. Our experience of work with this kind of publications proves that these are the most important quotes and not the secondary which are generally taken off.

MOTHER TONGUE

IISEPS surveys of the languages which Belarusians use for communication usually provoked much criticism. In particular, they claimed that answers to the questionnaire might reflect only external side of language behavior which was coercive. In the opinion of critics, it would be more correct to ask respondents about their aspirations and about the language they would like to speak as their mother tongue.

MARGINS OF POPULISM

President A. Lukashenko is a populist. This is not the news, nor a state secret, nor a definition to disgrace or disparage the head of state because the president himself agrees with this definition. Yet in August of 1994, soon after his election, he explained his inclination to populism to Russian TV journalist A. Karaulov: “By the way, I don’t think populism is an extremely negative characteristic for a politician. Perhaps, it derives from the word popular.”

WHAT IS THE BELARUSIAN NATION?

This question raised hot debates in some periods of the modern Belarusian history. Members of those discussions made their political conclusions on various answers to this question including the radical ones. In general, answers to this question group around three different variants – foundations of national identity, which are citizenship, birth (ethnicity) and culture (language). Respondents were offered to make choice out of these three identifiers of Belarusian nation. The results are given in Table 1.

WHOSE ARE YOU, GUYS?

During the latest population census in Belarus, 81.2% of population placed themselves among Belarusians, 73.7% said Belarusian is their native language but only 36.7% said they speak Belarusian at home (according to the data of opinion polls, the part of Belarusian-speaking citizens is several times lower).

WHO BELIEVE IN INDEPENDENT STATEHOOD OF BELARUS?

They use to install billboards in Belarusian cities promoting national prosperity where Belarusians of all ages (from babies to gray-haired veterans) are portrayed at the background of a short and eye-catching slogan “For Belarus!” rather than billboards with toothpastes and bright packages with detergents. This is not surprising. Despite globalization, the national axis remains a central axis in the beginning of XXI century and the most pressing problems in any society are concentrated around it.