Within the general tendency to the worsening of social well-being the share of respondents who answered positively to the following question increased: “Do you think that Belarusian economy is in crisis?” (Table 1). The increase amounts to 11.2 points at once. During two years the feeling of economic crisis in Belarusian society was constantly decreasing: from 87.6% in September 2011 to 57.4% in September 2013 (–29.8 points!)


The responsibility for the changing of the two-year trend should be conferred on the real wages (i.e. taking into consideration the consumer price index on goods and services). Its increase was replaced by a decrease. In September it decreased by 4.7% in comparison with August. In October it didn’t change in comparison with September, but in November it decreased in comparison with October by 3.9%.
The wages or, more specifically, its dynamics has always been the primary factor forming the social moods in Belarus. Hence the maniacal tendency of the country’s leadership to increase the wages even at the price of misbalancing the economy. This particularly led to the triple devaluation of Belarusian ruble in 2011.
While increasing the wages power is aiming not to violate the principle of social justice. In Belarus the statistical factor of the social stratification (the Gini coefficient) is at a quite low level by European standards. In 2011 it amounted to 26.5 (in Norway – 23.5, in Russia – 43).
But the manpower outflow forces to increase the wages; and this process is uneven: in the first place the wages are increased in those branches, where the workers actively go to bordering countries to earn more money. That is why in November 2013 in comparison with November 2012 the general change of the real wages amounted to 108.9%, while in building industry it amounted to 114.2% and in public health service – to 105.6%. The anti-leader is the transport and transportation equipment manufacturing – only 92.9%!
In spite of the growth of negative moods in society, the distribution of the evaluations of progress of Belarusian economy hasn’t changed a lot (Table 2). Optimists sharing the official point of view are a minority as usual. Among the respondents who trust A. Lukashenko, the share of those who believe in the internal reasons of economy progress amounts to 57.3%, amount those who don’t trust him, the share amounts to 13.7%.


The stability of the distribution of answers to the question of Table 2 is probably due to the fact that the ratio of supporters and opponents of the head of state in December 2013 is almost equal to the same ratio in December 2012: 37.7% vs. 47.5% and 39.1% vs. 49.1% respectively. And the long-term experience of independent social studies in Belarus testifies that this ratio is the main factor influencing the distribution of answers on politically charged questions.
In the country, where there is only one politician for 9.4 million citizens, the search for the person responsible for the growth of negative tendencies is not a problem since long ago (Table 3). At the peak of the crisis of 2011 the margin between A. Lukashenko and the government amounted to 19.9 points. In December 2012, when the electoral rating of the head of state was growing, the margin dropped to 1.9 points. Today, when the rating is decreasing once more, the margin started to grow again (3 points).


 The third place (note the huge margin) of the parliament can be explained not by its effective work, but by its insignificance for the Belarusian model.
The data in Table 3 are ranked by the first column where people as an entity responsible for the economic crisis, occupy the third place from the bottom. But after two years people climbed to the fourth place and left behind all external entities. It’s not improbable that this dynamics is caused by the more and more frequent accusations actively made by the head of state.
Unfortunately, the question “On whom do you most of all pin your hopes for the economic recovery of Belarus?” (Table 4) wasn’t present in 2011. But there were no significant changes in the anti-crisis hopes of Belarusians since March 2012. All the entities maintained their positions in the list, both in absolute and relative terms.


The intensification of negative aspirations in society is evident. Still the present state of the economy differs distinctly from its state in 2011, and it differs for the better. Hence the considerable difference in the answers on the question of Table 5. As anyone can see the share of reform supporters decreased by 7.3 points in a year – from 67% to 59.7%. Among the respondents trusting A. Lukashenko the share of reform supporters decreased by 8.6 points, while among the respondents not trusting him – only by 4.7 points. And the share of respondents who had difficulties answering the question deceased more in the first group: 6.3 vs. 1.9 points. This signifies that the crisis not only contributes to the growth of demand of reforms, but also increases the uncertainty of public opinion.
Table 5. Distribution of the answers to the question: “Do you consider it important to carry out market-type reforms in Belarus?”, %
Variant of answer
All respondents
Attitude towards A. Lukashenko
All respondents
Attitude towards A. Lukashenko
Don’t trust
Don’t trust
The group of supporters of the head of state consists mainly of social groups whose incomes are directly determined by the state (the so-called “budget-getters”). In these social groups women, low-educated people and pensioners prevail. The latter are inclined to change their attitude to the reforms more than others: in December 2011 market-type reforms were supported by 59.6% of people aged 60 years and more and by 71.8% of people aged 18-29 years; the ration in December 2013 is as follows: 37.2% and 69.7% respectively. The share of reform supporters in the eldest age group decreased by 22.4 points, while in the youngest one – only by 2.1 points. Taking into consideration the high share of pensioners in Belarusian society it’s not difficult to understand the mood swings of the social opinion, which are documented in the context of growing economic instability.
The state propaganda in Belarus aims at influencing the whole society, but manages to do it only within the groups of budget-getters. The data of Table 6 is the confirmation for this. While in the youngest age group the level of trust to state mass media is two-times lower in comparison with non-state mass media, the ratio for the eldest age group is inverse.
Table 6. Dependency of the media trust level on the age, %
Age (years)
60 +
State media
Non-state media
That is why the share of positive answers to the question “According to the National Bank there is a significant growth of purchasing of foreign currencies by the citizens. In view of the aforesaid A. Lukashenko stated: “If you are going to run all day long from one exchange office to another and buy foreign currency, you yourself will lead to the weakening of the national currency”. Do you agree with that?” amounted to 24.6% in the youngest age group and to 57.4% in the eldest one (while there were 34.7% of positive answers and 61.3% of negative answers in general).
Judging by the planned for 2014 growth of incomes, which is quite low by Belarusian standards, the feeling of crisis intensification will increase. At what rate? The answer to this question depends mainly on the state of economy, which in its turn, is a derivative of the level of Russian grants.