Answers to the question “What’s more important for you today: maintaining of the current situation in the country or changing it?” always provoke active discussion of Belarusian experts. A specialized term was introduced – “supporters of changes”. When their share exceeds the share of supporters of maintaining the current course, optimistically-oriented experts have a convincing reason in favor of inevitability of real changes (Table 1).


Variant of answer
Changing of the situation is more important
Maintaining of the situation is more important
Changes index (CI)*
* The difference between the first and the second line
In the meantime dynamics of answering the question of Table 1 (along with social indices and head of state’s ratings) is only one of indicators of social moods, which are formed under the influence of current economic events and TV-images.
During “fat” years (in Belarus these years strangely coincide with the years of presidential elections) changes index (CI) goes below zero, i.e. the number of supporters of stability exceeds the number of supporters of changes. During the years of economic stagnations and crises CI goes above zero. Absolute maximum was recorded in 2011, and there is nothing surprising about it if you remember the three-digit headline inflation and three-fold devaluation of Belarusian ruble.
Current value of CI (18.6) explicitly testifies that majority of Belarusians are not happy with their financial standing. But it’s an average value. CI is negative (–34.8) for the supporters of A. Lukashenko and positive (68.8) for his opponents. The impression is that each part of the divided Belarusian society lives in its own Belarus.
In fact it is true, if you remember that people react not to the real world, but to their conception of it. In the world of youth (18-29 years old) CI amounts to 47, in the world of pensioners (60 years old and older) it amounts –41.1, in the world of people with primary education it amounts –71, in the world of licentiates it amounts 35.2. Women’s need for changes in Belarus is significantly lower than men’s – 6.6 vs. 32.9.
Table 2 lets us compare answers of Russians and Belarusians to the question “According to you, what happens when power remains in the same hands for a long time?” (Russian survey was conducted before the beginning of March events). Evaluations of “two branches of one nation” are quite close for the majority of variants. Each forth Belarusian and each fifth Russian agrees that irremovability of power is condition of order and stability in the country. The same ratio may be observed in the variant of answer “It leads to stagnation and lagging behind other countries”.


* “Levada-center” data (Russia)
Despite the fact that majority of Belarusians prefer good leaders to good laws (59.7% vs. 33.3%), the advanced level of Belarusians (comparatively to Russians) in understanding of the role of laws in modern world cannot but rejoice (see the last line of Table 2).
The theory of electorate’s tiredness of longstanding Belarusian president is very popular among independent Belarusian experts and activists of oppositional political parties. However the dynamics of answering the question “According to you, is a significant improvement of life of Belarusian people possible under the present leadership of the country and their policy?” doesn’t support this theory.


As it is easy to see, the belief in the ability of “the present leadership” to improve people’s life doesn’t depend on the number of A. Lukashenko’s terms as head of state (Table 3). If there is a result (a two-digit growth of incomes), there is a belief.
No one ever grew tired of a leader providing success for a group. This doesn’t mean that such a leader will be refused credence after the first failure after long years of success.
A massive refusal of support to the previous leader is possible under one condition: after being a guarantor of success, he has to become the main source of the threat to stability and order. The example of M. Gorbachov and B. Yeltsin shows how it can happen.
But until it happened, the demand for alternative leaders and alternative programs of development is limited to the “oppositional ghetto”. No one ever managed to extricate from its gripe, at least in Belarus.
Answers to the question of Table 4 may serve as an example to the aforementioned. Taking into account the structure of Belarusian electorate, 14.1% of positive evaluations of the initiative of “Movement for Freedom” should be regarded as a success. Further promotional efforts may significantly raise its awareness rating, which won’t have a great impact on the increase of positive evaluations.


20 years ago, under the conditions of galloping inflation, 65.5% of Belarusians agreed that the price growth should be stopped even at the cost of temporary drop in production and rise in unemployment (Table 5). After “fat” aughties Belarusians got used to a two-digit growth of real incomes. Such growth became the main criterion of stability for many people.


People quickly get used to something good. Today majority of Belarusians is sure that price growth should be combated by means of increasing salaries and social transfers. They are ready for such changes. In this regard they are all supporters of changes. Therefore they dominate in Belarus.