Militia as an agency of the law enforcement system are an obligatory element of the state ensuring the normal life of people and law abidance of those who do not always like the laws. This is a theory. In practice however the position of this authority is mainly determined by the framework, which limits the activities of its officers, by the level of development and qualification of the officers themselves as well as by the requirements imposed on them by the management. Unfortunately, the Belarusian militia today is often engaged not only in fulfilling their own purely professional duties, which they have a great deal, but also in absolutely un-militia anticonstitutional gendarme operations for persecution of nonconformists, restriction of constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens, terror in respect of political opponents of the established order (See, for example, http://europeanbelarus.org/be/news/2010/6/26/1571/). All this eventually influences the overall attitude of people to this governmental institution.

Thus, the trust index (the trust index is calculated by dividing the difference value of the trusting and not trusting by the number of respondents) of the population towards militia has been negative for many years; this means that there are fewer people trusting this authority than not trusting (Table 1). And in general the percentage of the trusting rarely exceeds 40%. As can be seen, in comparison with other law enforcement bodies militia by its trust index always ranks last. The June national poll of IISEPS allows assessing the people’s attitude towards militia in a more detailed way, as it contains direct questions concerning the performance of this authority. According to the data of Table 2, the prevailing rating of militia’s performance is satisfactory or poor (three thirds of answers!). Only every fifth pointed out that militia performs well.

Table 1. Dynamics of law enforcement bodies trust index

Variant of answer










Public Prosecutor’s Office














Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question, “In your opinion, does militia perform their duties to protect public order, the rights and lawful interests of citizens well, adequately, or poorly?”

Variant of answer


It performs well


It performs adequately


It performs poorly




In the people’s judgment, the most essential drawbacks in the work of militia continue to be corruption of various kinds, indifference and formalism, impunity for militia malpractice and poor staffing (Table 3).

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question, “In your opinion, what problems in the work of militia are the most essential?” (more than one answer is possible)

Variant of answer


Corruption (extortion, bribery, “phone right”, etc.)


Indifference and formalism


Impunity for militia malpractice


Poor staffing


Unfounded use of force


Excessive headcount




There are no problems


There is some contradiction to reality in these respondents’ answers, which is confirmed by the data of Table 4, illustrating that very few people did come across corruption cases, e.g. extortion (7%). Most likely, such respondents’ opinion about militia problems has formed under the influence of the lively discussion in mass media of anticorruption campaigns often starring senior militia officers and being continuously conducted across the country. Actually the major problems people have when dealing with militia are, in the respondents’ judgment, formalism, unwillingness to fulfill their duties, low qualification, and abuse of authority.

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question, “If you (or your acquaintances) have ever suffered from malpractice or illegalities on the part of militia officers, what kind of actions were those?” (more than one answer is possible)

Variant of answer


Unwillingness to respond to a complaint, refuse to receive petition


Low qualification


Unfounded detention


Unfounded use or abuse of force






The data of Table 5 also confirm the above. Among major causes preventing militia from good performance the respondents enumerated negative personal qualities of officers, poor educational work with the staff and officers’ malpractice.

Table 5. Distribution of answers to the question, “What causes, in your opinion, prevent militia from good performance?” (more than one answer is possible)

Variant of answer


Negative personal qualities of officers (rudeness, indifference, irresponsibility, etc.)


Poor educational work with the staff


Non-statutory orders of higher-level bodies and officials


Insufficient provision of material needs of officers


Insufficient logistic support of militia




There no such causes


As for material support of the needs of militia and its officers, it is not the key reason preventing militia officers from good performance, in the respondents’ opinion. And every seventh respondent is sure there are no causes preventing militia from good performance at all.

In view of the above, no wonder that almost one half of Belarusians (49.6%) consider themselves practically unprotected from arbitrary actions of various authorities, including militia (Table 6). And it is not a pleasant fact at all that the other half feel themselves protected. Since “one-half” is approximately 3.5 million people (!), who experience, let’s say, rather unflattering feelings towards militia inter alia. Three and a half million is not a couple of hundreds of “thugs” as the country’s leader likes to call his political opponents.

Table 6. Distribution of answers to the question, “Do you feel protected from the possible arbitrariness on the part of the authorities, militia, the State Motor Vehicle Inspectorate, the tax inspectorate, courts and other state bodies?”

Variant of answer


More likely / definitely, no


More likely / definitely, yes




Table 7. Distribution of answers to the question, “If a state authority has infringed your rights, where would you seek help from first thing?” (more than one answer is possible)

Variant of answer


From President’s Administration, public officers (Municipal Executive Committee, Regional Executive Committee)


From the law enforcement bodies (militia, Prosecution Office, courts)


From mass media


From a deputy


From non-governmental organizations


I protect myself on my own


No sense to protect oneself, the state will win all the same


Nevertheless, in the case of infringement of their rights and freedoms by the government, Belarusians are not hasty in seeking support from mass media, non-governmental organizations or deputies (Table 7). They seem to understand full powerlessness and helplessness of these institutions and personalities in Belarus. That is why, having no other choice they probably have to address the same officials and law enforcement officers. In the hope that some officials will punish the others for arbitrary actions, that some law enforcement officers will terminate unlawful acts of the others. Only it seems that today in our country their hopes are in vain.