Monthly Archive: April 2014

BULLETINS INFOFOCUS № 4

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 4, 2014 – ISSN 1822-5578 (only Russian) Content: Introduction 1. Basic trends of April 2. Chronicle of key events 3. Politics 3.1. Facing the internal market 3.2. “Rough and tough, but fair decree” 4. Economics 4.1. Sanctions “without insignia” 4.2. Russia at the cusp of de-dollarization of economy …

Continue reading »

UKRAINIAN REVOLUTION IN THE MIRROR OF PUBLIC OPINION IN BELARUS

Ukrainian revolution, months-long Euromaydan and the overthrow of president V. Yanukovich significantly influenced Belarusian politics. However, these events influenced Belarusian public opinion as well. During March survey respondents were asked a wide range of question concerning different aspects of their opinion on dramatic events in the neighboring country. Further we are going to comment on the results of this survey using also the results of earlier surveys. You should note as well, that questions on the events after V. Yanukovich’s deserting (particularly on annexation of Crimea and troubles in the East of Ukraine) were not included in March poll.

THE CRIMEA COMPONENT OF A. LUKASHENKO’S RATINGS

Ukraine wasn’t so lucky to have its own Lukashenko. “This is exactly what caused dissatisfaction of some citizens and discords in society. I’m sure, if Ukraine had had its own Lukashenko, there would have been no those troubles that befell our sister nation”, told A. Rubinov on the 2nd of April during the opening of the 4th session of the 5th Congress of the upper house of the Belarusian parliament.

UKRAINIAN PUSH FOR GEOPOLITICAL SWING

The survey of March 2014 recorded a significant strengthening of pro-Russian moods and a weakening of pro-European moods in Belarusian society. Least of all it influenced the results of the question about voting on a hypothetical referendum about integration of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation: in fact figures here jumped back to the level of last year’s spring and thus compensated December decrease (Table 1).

WE VOTE DESPITE WE DON’T TRUST THE RESULTS

During March elections of local Councils’ deputies Belarusian people didn’t let down their “batka” and were thanked for it: “Thanks to the people for supporting us in these elections, for coming so numerous. Surely, the situation put us on the alert, and I’ve asked people to come. The fact people come to elections is a strong argument for me. I often take it out of my pocket and put it on the table during important negotiations. And everyone understands: if almost 80% of populations come to elections, it means that they trust the power. It means I have some kind of strength in those negotiations. It’s a very big argument”.

UNRESTRICTED AUTHORITARIANISM AND THE RIGHT FOR ITS THROW OFF

Against the background of growth of positive moods in society and of the head of state’s ratings, the share of those who declare their readiness to participate in acts of protest against the worsening of financial position grew significantly (Table 1). 22.9% of respondents declared themselves ready for this in March 2014. This is 8.2 points more than at the peak of the economic crisis of 2011!

PRICE GROWTH IS NO OBSTACLE TO SOCIAL OPTIMISM GROWTH

In short-distance runs politics wins over economics. But in average- and long-distance runs it is economics that wins as a rule. The March survey shows it clearly.
The dynamics of public opinion in March was formed under the influence of events in Ukraine and Russia or, more specifically, under the interpretation of these events by Russian TV-media on the one hand (politics) and under the influence of day-to-day life (economics).

HOMO SOVIETICUS AS THE BASIS OF ELECTORAL AUTHORITARIANISM

(Русский) Причину популярности культа Великой Отечественной войны, как это не покажется странным на первый взгляд, можно объяснить исходя из ответов на вопрос: “Какой строй более приемлем для Беларуси?” (табл. 1). За годы независимости политическая элита страны так и не смогла сформулировать образ будущего. Нет его и в общественном мнении. Поэтому отсутствие будущего компенсируется прошлым, героическим прошлым.

GUARANTEED WORK ON A LOW SALARY!

After 23 years of independence Belarusian society still cannot define its attitude towards two main “-isms” of Soviet ideology, i.e. capitalism and socialism. In March the answers on the question “Which regime is more acceptable for Belarus?” were divided almost equally: capitalism – 38.3%, socialism – 39.9% (21.1% of respondents didn’t know what to answer).

MONEY CAN’T BUY HAPPINES, BUT POLITICAL LOYALTY CAN

A. Lukashenko likes to play off the beginning of nineties when, under “nationalists”, average salary amounted to $ 20, against “fat” aughties. According to official information from Belstat, in February 2014 (information for March was not yet available when the article was prepared) an average Belarusian earned 5.4 million rubles or $ 557.
In dollar equivalent average salary increased 28-fold over the past 20 years, while the share of Belarusians considering themselves poor decreased from 17.7% down to 10.8%, i.e. 1.6-fold (Table 1). You shouldn’t be surprised by this lack of proportion. Poverty and wealth are relative.