«

»

OPINION LEADERS WANT ANOTHER PRESIDENT

The March statement of President A. Lukashenko on the ideological issues has produced a wide response within the Belarusian society. And right after forming the department on ideology at the presidential administration the head of state issued a directive on opening the position of the deputy head on ideology at the enterprises. In its turn, the Ministry of Labor and Social Protection issued the instructions on the official duties of the Deputy Head for ideological work at non-state enterprises. The new position has already been included into the National Register and the Skilled Manual.

So far it is hard to predict the results of the new campaign on ideological education of population. But it is clear, the Belarusian elite – both state and non-state – is very skeptical about the campaign. Only 15% of the polled leaders (they are 23% in the public sector) stated this country needs the state ideology. Yet, 71% spoke out the opposite viewpoint. Answering the question “If you think we need the state ideology, then why?”, 12% of the respondents said it is vital for strengthening independence and 10% – for consolidating the society around a single goal. The reasons most often listed by the leaders on why there isn’t necessity in a state ideology are as follows: this is a road to totalitarianism (25%); we cannot admit monopoly for ideology (17%); this contradicts to the Constitution (14%). According to the respondents, the most concerned in introducing state ideology are A. Lukashenko himself (75%) and the governing elite (45%).
The aim of forming ideological vertical is most often interpreted as A. Lukashenko’s preparatory measure for carrying referendum on the Constitution amendment and as his intention to run for the third presidential term. The president himself hasn’t yet revealed his plans. So far, based upon voters’ opinion, we can certify that he doesn’t have a fair chance to implement such a project. In the public opinion poll, a quarter of the respondents expressed their willingness to re-elect A. Lukashenko while among the leaders – only one person (See Table 1).

Table 1. Distribution of answers to the question “Do you think that on the whole A. Lukashenko well governed the country and should be again elected president at the forthcoming election or should another candidate take this post and receive the opportunity to do this job better than him?”, %

Variant of answer
Nation public opinion poll (03’03)
Polling of leaders
All respondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Elect again A. Lukashenko
23.2
1
3
Another candidate should take this post
64.1
90
81
97
It is noteworthy that 81% of leaders from the public sector spoke out in favor of other candidate. The current course seems has “worn out” everyone, the nomenclature included.
During our latest nation public opinion poll the respondents were asked the question about A. Lukashenko’s rival at the presidential election. It turned out an overwhelming majority of the citizens (86%) couldn’t name then such a candidate. But distribution of positive and negative answers among the leaders knowing politics much better than an average Belarusian is nearly equal (See Table 2). As it can be seen, opinions of the leaders from public and private sector are mirror-like. The figures indicate that the nomenclature disappointed in the current head of state still doesn’t see a politician able to effectively compete with A. Lukashenko.

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question “Do you know a candidate able to effectively compete with A. Lukashenko at the presidential election?”, %

Variant of answer
Nation public opinion poll (03’03)
Polling of leaders
Allrespondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Yes, I know
13.1
49
32
63
No, I don’t know
85.9
47
61
34
The deputy group Republic has been lately acquiring great popularity. Their footwork in the Parliament drew attention of both the authorities (a criminal case has been opened for the group leader S. Skrebets and a series of soiling items about his predecessor V. Parfenovich were broadcasted on the national state-run TV channel BT) and politically experienced figures. However, there are twofold more of those who are positive to the Republic’s activity among the public opinion leaders than among the general public. Remarkably, no leader spoke on the issue in the negative (See Table 3).

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question “The deputy group Republic formed a year ago at the initiative of General V. Frolov came out with the criticism of A. Lukashenko’s policy. Some are positive towards the fact, others – negative. What is your attitude?”, %

Variant of answer
Nation public opinion poll (03’03)
Polling of leaders
All respondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Positive
33.1
71
65
76
Indifferent
33.6
20
29
13
Negative
15.4
It is no secret that domestic problems of Belarus have been steadily aggravated with failures in its foreign policy. There are progressively fewer countries for A. Lukashenko to go and progressively fewer leaders willing to meet him. Perhaps, this is why the Belarusian president is more and more reckless supporting such regimes and such politicians while the consequences of this for the country are more and more negative. A. Lukashenko’s flights to S. Milosevic and his promises to render all possible assistance to the Yugoslav leader are not yet forgotten. S. Milosevic now lives in Hague but Belarus lost its positions with the new Serbian government. Quite recently A. Lukashenko was nearly the most active supporter of Iraqi dictator S. Hussein. And after his downfall, Belarus can forget for long about its interests in Iraq.
Many analysts noted that Iraqi events greatly scared A. Lukashenko. Hence, his statement on the ”weapon of revenge” in Belarus that can “hold back any aggressor” and also on the exercises to get ready to “Iraqi scenario”. Such stand, say most leaders, will bring the country to a negative outcome (See Table 4).

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question “Some claim A. Lukashenko’s stand on the Iraqi war (including the planned military exercises by “Iraqi scenario”) will bring to positive results for Belarus and others say – to negative. What is your opinion?”, %

скачанные файлы (33)

 

Accented coldness, if not indifference, of the Kremlin to the official Minsk cannot remain unnoticed at the background of the long-term isolation of Belarus initiated by the West. Examples of such indifference follow one by one. V. Putin didn’t say a word about Belarus in his address to the Federation Assembly; all Russian companies ignored the bid on privatizing largest Belarusian oil refineries; head of the Central Election Commission V. Veshnyakov stated that the referendum on the Union State Constitution cannot be held this year. Does this mean Russia has lost its interest towards Belarus? Or, it on the contrary decided to wait until A. Lukashenko’s position turns weaker and he becomes more compliant, as regards a single currency and the privatizing? It is difficult to give a plain answer to this question. Still, most experts are certain that in the near future Belarus will remain a sovereign state but its dependence from Russia will grow stronger (See Table 5).

Table 5. Distribution of answers to the question “In your opinion, in the near ten years Belarus will:”, %

Variant of answer
Nation public opinion poll (03’03)
Polling of leaders
All respondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Remain a sovereign state and its independence from Russia will grow stronger
9.6
27
23
32
Remain a sovereign state but its independence from Russia will grow weaker
34.9
54
51
55
Incorporate into Russia
33.4
6
7
5
Opinions of the leaders from the public and the private sectors in their answers to this question appeared to be very close that happens quite seldom. Also, proximity of opinions, though not that impressing, is found in their estimation of the results of election into the local governing bodies (See Table 6).

Table 6. Distribution of answers to the question “Are you satisfied with the results of the election into the Local Councils of deputies?”, %

Variant of answer
Nation public opinion poll (03’03)
Polling of leaders
All respondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Yes
33.8
4
7
3
No
23.5
79
61
92
DA/NA
42.7
17
32
5
During the nation public opinion poll only one third of the respondents said to be satisfied with the voting results while among the opinion leaders only 4% think in the same way and an absolute majority states the opposite. Distrust to the officially announced voting results is a major cause of discontent. And in this case the level of credence to the data of the Central Election Committee is extremely low (See Table 7). The fact that only 7% of the leaders from the public sector (and they perfectly well know how the commissions are formed and work, how the votes are counted, etc.) trust CEC data and 6.5-fold more leaders distrust this data speaks the volumes.

Table 7. Trust to the officially announced results of the election into the Local Councils of deputies, %

Variant of answer
Nation public opinion poll(03’03)
Polling of leaders
All respondents
Public sector employees
Private sector employees
Yes
45.7
4
7
3
No
26.2
70
45
89
DA/NA
28.1
26
48
8
Thus, an overwhelming majority of the leaders does not see the necessity of introducing the state ideology, does not trust the results of the election into the Local Councils and is convinced that A. Lukashenko shouldn’t be the next president of Belarus.