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A. LUKASHENKO IS NOT AN OBSTACLE FOR CARDINAL CHANGES

Who succeeds today in the Belarusian “state for the people”? According to the people, first of all those who are in power, and, therefore, don’t belong to the people (Table 1). Among the Belarusians who didn’t manage to get in power succeed well-connected people, and there is a huge gap between them and businesslike and talented people. But connections are a mean that helps representatives of people to resolve their private issues with those who are in power, i.е. with government officials.

Impossible not to quote the leader of the Italian fascists B. Mussolini, one of the most authoritative experts in construction of the centralized states: “All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state”. But a state, as K. Marx taught, is nothing but a group of officials. And if “all for the benefit of the state”, then this “all” finally gets in the disposal of officials and their friends (well-connected people). The majority of Belarusians perfectly realizes this simple logic, which is reflected in the answers to the question of Table 1.

 

 

Among A. Lukashenko’s supporters the official mytheme “the state for the people”, naturally, enjoys bigger popularity, than among his opponents, but the priority order is preserved. Power is the main factor of prosperity even for the supporters of the head of state. Criminal and mafia structures unexpectedly turned out to be on the last place, but if “all is within the state” then criminal elements have to take a rest. They aren’t rivals for those who are in power. In a society where a majority of people sees the state as the only source of personal prosperity, the “western” model of social system doesn’t enjoy great popularity. The European values in pure form are supported today only by each tenth Belarusian. The difference between supporters and opponents of A. Lukashenko is not considerable: 8.6 % vs. 13.7 %. Even among the Belarusians with higher education the evaluation of the western model as a universal social order model is only 1.5 points higher than the national evaluation which proves the existence of a sort of consensus in the Belarusian society (Table 2).
Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: “According to you to what extent the “western” (i.e. Wet-European, American) social order suits to Belarus?”
Variant of answer
%
It’s a universal social order model and it suits Belarusian conditions completely
10.3
Only social order model which can be adapted to Belarusian conditions is suitable
38.3
It’s not quite suitable for Belarusian conditions and unlikely to take on in Belarus
21.1
This model is completely unsuitable for Belarusian conditions and it contradicts Belarusian way of life
16.4
DA/NA
13.9
A special case of the western universality is the universality of the private property right. But there is no mass demand for such a special case in Belarus therefore the majority of Belarusians (57%) resolutely answer “no” to a question “Do you consider it admissible if foreigners possess lands in Belarus?” 36.3% have nothing against “homeland sale”.
But rejection of West as a model of social order doesn’t mean that people are satisfied with the domestic and foreign policy of the native state. 50.3% of Belarusians are for cardinal changes, 20.2% are against, 21.1% are indifferent to these changes, and 8.4% had difficulties to define their attitude.
25.5% of respondents believe in possibility of such changes in the following five years. Among A. Lukashenko’s supporters the share of “believers” is three times higher than among his opponents – 35.4% vs. 13.9 %. Therefore, for a considerable part of Belarusians the belief in cardinal changes can be combined with the belief in the head of state who heads the country for the same course for 19 years!
56.1% of respondents consider cardinal changes in domestic and foreign policy unlikely. Level of moderate pessimism among A. Lukashenko’s supporters is much lower than among his opponents – 67.8% vs. 45.8 %. The share of those who don’t believe in changes is the smallest – 13.8% (13.5% vs. 15.2 % respectively).
The western matrix consists of the balance of society and power interaction, the priority of the human rights question, the development of democratic institutes which resist to the governor, and the state as the social compact and principle. The eastern matrix means that society concentrates around the power bearer; the priority is given to collectivist values and to serving to the state.
In the split Belarusian society the bearer of the eastern matrix is the so-called “majority”, and the bearer of the western matrix is the “minority”. Twenty years’ researches of IISEPS show that the transition from “majority” to “minority” is extremely complicated while the reverse transition happens constantly: with age the representatives of “minority” lose their personal resources and a part of them starts to behave as a typical “budget-getter”. At the expense of this transition the constancy of electoral structure of the Belarusian society is maintained.