Against the background of social indices’ decrease the electoral rating of A. Lukashenko raised by 5.3 points in a quarter (Table 1), which is remarkably higher than the statistical error (3%). As for the trust rating, though formally it hadn’t changed a lot, but the number of those who don’t trust the president decreased perceptibly (Table 2), which led to a record (during the last three years) share of respondents, who found it difficult to answer. This is a sure sign of the growth of the feeling of uncertainty in society.



Social indices increased slightly, but synchronously. Real income growth rate started to slow down (January-May – 120.6%, January-July – 119.1%), while the official reports about recurrent price rises of goods and services arrive as regularly as the sun rises and sets.
But in September the reality shaped by mass media was opposed to the reality perceived by the population through the purchasing power of their salaries and pensions. During the first half of the month (when the poll was conducted) the mass media reality was especially aggressive. An image of an enemy was shaped in the persons of Russian partners of the “Belarusian Potash Company” (oligarchs) and “top-level crooks” from the government of Russian Federation. But the intentions to make good at Belarusian people’s expense were disclosed and neutralized in time (we suppose we don’t need to explain who was the saviour).
Conflicting signals from two realities caused some uncertainty in the dynamics of A. Lukashenko’s ratings (Tables 1-2). “We can say that current public opinion polls, – constantly repeats the head of the “Levada-Center” L. Gudkov, – register not so much the dynamics of moods and ideas in society devoid of independent information sources, as the effectiveness of the state propaganda”.
But the effectiveness of the state propaganda has its limits even under the condition of TV-monopoly. Mobilization potential of the modern Belarusian society is considerably inferior to the one of the soviet times society, that is why the success of the propaganda cannot be long-lasting. And propaganda is completely powerless against large-scale economic problems (e.g. the economic crisis in 2011).
Let’s get back to Table 1. The poll of March 2011 was conducted before the panic, caused by the stopping of selling foreign currencies in exchange offices. The last pre-crisis poll recorded as well the pre-crisis value of A. Lukashenko’s electoral rating. It took two years and a half and the raise of average salary up to $ 600 to recover the old level of the electoral rating. The success is evident, but what’s the price? There are reasons to believe that it will be hard to secure the reached level of electoral support.
Production of hopes for the masses is a major function of a public politician. A politician giving hope is devoid of drawbacks like a beloved person. But passionate love is fleeting, and in our dynamic times no one cannot maintain himself in the position of a “politician giving hope” regardless of his charisma. A. Lukashenko is not an exception to this rule. Today his high electoral rating is due to the lack of alternative. The September poll is confirming that: 81.5% of respondents said that they don’t know a candidate who could compete with A. Lukashenko during the presidential elections, and only 18.5% know such a candidate.
42.6% of Belarusians are ready to vote for A. Lukashenko today, and only less than a fifth of voters completely share his views (Table 3). This is the approximate extent of the electorate of the “nation-wide chosen” president. His other supporters are situational. Depending on the stars in the sky which means a mix of accidental circumstances, appearing “here and now”, they can switch from his supporters to his opponents and vice versa.


Similar pendulous oscillations were recorded more than once. In 2011 they formed the so-called “new majority” of A. Lukashenko’s opponents. There were political forces which tried to rely on this majority. But in the second half of 2012 it came to evidence that the political pendulum started to go back. Today it is in the extreme position again, and in medium-term outlook that gives the supporters of the “new majority” theory a possibility to look into the future with optimism.
The fact that the “new majority” in Belarus cannot be sustainable is supported by the answers to the question of Table 4. The opponents of the concentration of full authority in a single pair of hands are a minority (look at the third line of Table 4), hence under the banner of “new majority” are gathered not only the opponents of authoritarianism, but also those who are disappointed in A. Lukashenko personally (but not in the authoritarian political system). Therefore it should be noted that the trust rating of oppositional political parties didn’t change during the last three months (June – 15.4%, September – 15.3%) regardless of the decrease of A. Lukashenko’s trust rating.


Who in Belarus constantly needs a “powerful hand”? Naturally first of all those who trust A. Lukashenko: 40.5% of those who trust him, and 10.8% of those who don’t trust him. The base of the first group (let’s call it conventionally “budget-getters”) is composed of women (29.1%), elderly persons of 60 years old and older (37.6%) and people with primary education (44.8%). The share of men, youth up to 30 years old and people with higher education is substantially lower: 22.4%, 21.5% and 22.2% respectively. Nevertheless, each fifth of young Belarusians, each fifth man and each fifth holder of the higher education diploma needs a “powerful hand”!
Demand of stability is one of basic demands in any society, but to support stability by dynamic development is a lot of chosen ones. Unfortunately Belarusian society is not in the circle of chosen (according to the latter characteristic).
We should remember that in absence of interests’ concordance mechanism the stability which is registered today could be no less explosive then instability. “The greatest catastrophe of the century” (the Soviet Union’s collapse) is one of examples of this dangerously explosive stability.