Answers of respondents to the questions on self-identification divided almost equally between “Europeans” and “Soviet men” (See Table 1).

Table 1. Dynamics of answers to the question “Do you think you are rather a European or a Soviet man?”, %

Variant of answer



I’m rather a Soviet man



I’m rather a European






Remarkably, this ratio was slightly different during the previous March-April 2006 polling: 52% of “Soviet men” vs. 36% of “Europeans.” Such fluctuations reveal that the above characteristic is not only and not so much self-identification but rather response to political events: mass actions of protest after the presidential election, sharp response of the West to the election results, or Gazprom’s gas offer for 2007 could directly influence answers of respondents to the above question. However, fluctuations are very weak in this case and combine with certain stability – there’s both numeral superiority of “the Soviet” over “the Europeans” and the percentage of the Soviet men making nearly a half of respondents.

At the same time, Belarusians don’t have the feeling of alien Europe. They maintain interest, cognitive or purely business-like, to Europe. Thus, 47.2% of respondents would like to get a temporal job in an EU country if there’s an opportunity, 58.4% of the polled would like to know more about the events taking place in EU member states as well as about activity of the EU Cabinet, European Commission and European Parliament, 39.4% of respondents would welcome opening of the Minsk office of the European Commission, and only 8.3% think this is bad while 44.1% said they are not concerned in all this.

Living in EU countries is often talked over in families, at work or with friends. In particular, 22.4% of respondents said they often talk about this and 52.2% said they seldom talk about this. The results of such talks are often very controversial.

During the election, state-run mass media persuaded voters that the latter lived in the best country while the entire world drowned in poverty and problems. They achieved certain progress in planting this idea, yet they failed to break the general balance. Respondents still make their comparison in favor of EU countries (See Table 2).

Table 2. Dynamics of answers to the question “Where do you think people live better, in Belarus or in EU countries?”, %

Variant of answer



In EU countries



In Belarus






The other thing is that the general audience doesn’t come to the conclusion about necessity to move to Europe from the statement that the united Europe lives better. Respondents were asked the question about historic path for Belarus and for Russia, its closest ally to which many Belarusians relate the historic path of this country (See Table 3).

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question “What is the historic path for Belarus, in your opinion? What do you think is the historic path for Russia?”, %

Variant of answer



Common path of the European civilization



Coming back to the Soviet path of development



Its own original path






It is noteworthy that the majority of Belarusians think that common path of European civilization is more natural for Russia than for Belarus. Perhaps, they can hardly imagine the European path under present conditions. Meanwhile, even though half of respondents place themselves among Soviet people (See Table 1), it is only every fourth respondent who says that the Soviet past should be the development path of Belarus. The most popular alternative – “original path” – is actually a different name for a delayed choice, a mask concealing controversy and uncertainty. Thus, only 17.3% of respondents believe that European direction is a historic (i.e. far away) path for Belarus while twice as many respondents say that Belarus will sooner or later join the united Europe (See Table 4).

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question “In your opinion, will Belarus enter the EU some day?”

Variant of answer




Yes, but not earlier than in 10 years


Yes, within the next ten years




Obviously, less than a third of respondents are convinced that Belarus will never become an EU member. If we compare this data with the number of Belarusians saying they are Soviet men, it appears that by far not all of them come to the conclusion that Belarus will never be able to access to the EU and what’s more that this can be harmful to it.

When it comes to political reality of nowadays though, Belarusian’s belonging to a Soviet nature doesn’t show any inner controversy (See Tables 5-7).

Table 5. Distribution of answers to the question “The EU and the USA have been constantly imposing sanctions on the Belarusian authorities. They have banned entrance of top Belarusian officials and A. Lukashenko to the EU countries and USA as they think these people are responsible of rigging the presidential election and of repression against participants of peaceful actions of protest. Some of our fellow citizens say this is right, other – this is wrong. What is your opinion?”

Variant of answer


This is wrong


This is right


This doesn’t matter to me




Table 6. Distribution of answers to the question “The USA, the EU, the European Parliament, the Council of Europe and other influential international organizations didn’t recognize the results of the presidential election in Belarus as the latter “did not comply with OSCE standards” but they supported the opposition in its demands to held the election anew. Some people say this is a fair decision, other – unfair. What is your opinion?”

Variant of answer


This is an unfair decision


This is a fair decision




We should like to underline that, comparing to all other sanctions of the Western countries, the respondents condemn the least the proposal of the US president to stop A. Lukashenko’s personal accounts abroad. The reason is hardly a great sympathy towards the USA (in fact, it is the lowest comparing to the other Western countries) but the matter itself – criticism of Belarusian orders on the part of foreigners–generates the response “No matter whether my country is right or wrong, this is my country” while personal accounts of the head of state in foreign banks (if any) are not considered as a symbol of national sovereignty.

Table 7. Distribution of answers to the question “In early March, US President G. Bush submitted a special letter to the Congress within the framework of the Democracy Act on Belarus. The letter states that President A. Lukashenko receives incomes from arms traffic into his personal fund and therefore addresser proposes to stop his bank accounts abroad. Some of Belarusian citizens say this is good and other – this is bad. What is your attitude to this initiative of G. Bush?”

Variant of answer










In conclusion, we should like to present the results of the comparative research on the attitude of the Belarusians and the Ukrainians to accession of their countries into the European Union and the NATO. The questions listed below were asked during the opinion poll of April’06 as well as during the opinion poll conducted by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (см. http://www.kiis.com.ua/index.php?id=4&sp=1&num=24) in December of 2005.

Table 8. Distribution of answers to the question “Do you think you have enough information about the EU to decide if Belarus (Ukraine) should join the EU or not?”, %

Variant of answer

Belarus 04’06

Ukraine 12’05

Have not enough information



Have enough information






Table 9. Distribution of answers to the question “If there was now a referendum in Belarus (Ukraine) on accession into the European Union and you could choose between ‘For’, ‘Against’ or abstain from voting – not to come to voting, what would you choose?”, %

Variant of answer

Belarus 04’06

Ukraine 12’05







Wouldn’t come to voting






Table 10. Distribution of answers to the question “Do you think you have enough information about the NATO to decide if Belarus (Ukraine) should join the NATO or not?”, %

Variant of answer

Belarus 04’06

Ukraine 12’05

Have not enough information



Have enough information






Despite radically different political situation in the two countries, attitude of their citizens to accession into the EU or the NATO are very alike. Thus, people in both Ukraine and Belarus are much more ready to join the EU than the NATO, yet supporters and opponents of accession to the EU are approximately equal in number. The situation is paradoxical in both Ukraine and Belarus as the number of respondents giving definite answer to the question on expediency of country’s accession into a supranational organization is approximately twice as many as the number of those respondents who say they have enough information to take such a decision (as regards the EU, 36% of Belarusians and 38% of Ukrainians think they have enough information to make a choice while in reality 66% of Belarusians and 72% of Ukrainians make a definite choice; as regards the NATO, 31% of Belarusians and 37% of Ukrainians say they have information while in reality 60% of Belarusians and 73% of Ukrainians make a definite choice).

Table 11. Distribution of answers to the question “If there was now a referendum in Belarus (Ukraine) on joining the NATO and you could choose between ‘For’, ‘Against’ or abstain from voting – not to come to voting, what would you choose?”, %

Variant of answer

Belarus 04’06

Ukraine 12’05







Wouldn’t come to voting






Apparently, this paradox can be solved if recalling about ideological attitudes. Those respondents who say they don’t have enough information to make choice but who still make it, most likely proceed from that the choice can be made even put aside full and reliable information. A man who believes that his country should “get back to Europe” or the one who thinks that “the West is a foe of Slavdom” can understand and even write down in a questionnaire that he/she have little knowledge about the EU or the NATO. In fact, to make a choice they don’t need this knowledge as the choice follows from an ideological attitude. The data given above shows that approximately 30% of Belarusians and of Ukrainians make their choice in this way exactly.

If we talk about differences, Belarusians much more often than Ukrainians say they are poorly informed about the NATO and the EU. Although the situation in Belarus allows less openness than in Ukraine, there are more Ukrainians than Belarusians who didn’t give an answer about awareness and voting at hypothetical referenda. Probably, the reason is that these issues are very hotly debated on in Ukraine which urges some part of respondents stay aside from this moot case. At the same time, the political course in Belarus is so far away from Europe in any sense that questions on accession into the EU or the NATO is a kind of an abstract game for Belarusians. Why not?

Furthermore, unlike in Ukraine, there isn’t any deep regional split in Belarus on these issues, and therefore this or that choice is not taken as a possible loss of country’s territorial integrity.

The number of supporters of EU or NATO integration is higher in Ukraine than in Belarus but it is much lower than expected taking into account difference of political courses in both countries. In this regards, it is very surprising that opponents of both integration projects are more numerous in Ukraine than in Belarus. Perhaps, the reason is the one mentioned above: both projects are more than a game in Ukraine.

In conclusion, we should like to say that attitude of Belarusians to Europe is in general controversial and uncertain. In the strict sense, Belarusians don’t see any other long-term and well-defined prospects but European. Yet, these are really long-term prospects as short-term European prospects are not favored so far.

Comparison to Ukraine doesn’t allow making unambiguous conclusions: On the one hand, the fact that Belarusians remained as loyal as Ukrainians to the European idea under such unfavorable conditions points out to a greater pro-European orientation of Belarusians.

On the other hand, first, these same conditions were generated by the Belarusian society and, second, it is entirely possible that both in Belarus and Ukraine we deal with invariants of mass thinking, with preferences which don’t change over a short term even if state policy would change radically.