IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 4 (74), 2014




On whose heads were all the “cones” falling in 2014?
Resource of induced mobilization is exhausting
From a reformist to a conservative
What does mass consciousness mean by reforms?
Right way to archaisation
Dissatisfaction of paternalistic state doesn’t generate protest
Between free deficiency and paid abundance
National unity by way of dividing into insiders and outsiders
A little further from Russia

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in December-2014


Two aspects of Russian reality perception
Ukrainian immunity to Russian propaganda
Positive news from the European Union
“Ostalgie” still in vogue


Sergey Nikoliuk, expert
“The Future of Belarus. Young Experts’ View”


Dear readers!

In the latest issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” we offer to your attention materials reflecting the most interesting results of the Institute researches in the fourth quarter of 2014.
Our researches show that the “split” of mass consciousness, including economic consciousness, which emerged under the conditions when the fear of total destabilization, inflicted by the influence of the Ukrainian events, “overshadowed” the reality for millions of Belarusians, gradually disappears. Thus, the ratio of those, whose financial standing improved over the last three months, to those, whose financial standing went downhill, decreased once again, and the share of pessimists, who consider that “socio-economic situation in Belarus will worsen in the next few years”, increased. Compared to December 2013 the number of respondents, considering that past year was more difficult for Belarus than the previous one, increased, while the average income per family member decreased over the last month. At the same time analysis of dynamics of economic consciousness demonstrates that pro-market setups of Belarusians gradually grow.
Analysis also demonstrates that economy defines Belarusians’ attitude to the state power more and more often. Thus, over the last year increased the number of respondents considering that Belarus should carry out market-friendly reforms. However, between September 2008 and December 2014 the number of those, who consider, that market-oriented reforms are successfully going in Belarus, decreased, while the number of those, who think that “these reforms never really started”, increased. The number of respondents considering that “citizens of Belarus don’t accomplish their obligations to the state” is by several times smaller than the number of those, who think that “the state doesn’t accomplish its obligations to the citizens of Belarus”. That is why the gap between the power and the people becomes wider. For the first time over the last year the trend on increase of trust and electoral rating of A. Lukashenko changed to an opposite one: these figures started to sag once again. Almost two thirds of respondents answered negatively the question whether they would personally protect A. Lukashenko in case of some threat; only 20% за respondents gave a positive answer.
Belarusians’ readiness for changes, which, it would seem, should have increased amid this trend change, is still “under the carpet” of social and political life. Thus, only one third of respondents consider that fundamental changes in external and internal policies of Belarus are “quite possible” in the next five years, while almost 60% of respondents consider them not likely or even impossible. However, the very understanding of “fundamental changes” in Belarusian society varies quite a lot: only 44% of respondents mean by it a decrease of state’s role in social life and as an accordance of greater freedom of actions to its citizens, while 46.4% of respondents perceive them on the contrary as a strengthening of state’s role in society, a bigger support to the citizens. Amid Ukrainian events this understanding of changes led to a minimal level of participation in public protests over 15 years of IISEPS monitoring. Even against the background of decrease of trust to the power Belarusians’ trust to political opposition is still quite low. Probably, the only oppositional initiative, that enjoys support from the society, is the “People’s Referendum”.
In foreign policy orientations of Belarusians emerged a more suspicious attitude to Russia and a gradual return of interest to Europe. In comparison with September the share of “Euro-Belarusians” slightly increased. Evaluating the prospect of membership in CSTO, 44.4% of respondents expressed opinion that it will “provide security for Belarus”, while 42.7% of respondents think that “it is fraught with involvement into military schemes of Russia”. The number of family members working in Russia decreased over only one quarter, while the number of those working in Germany increased. The key factor that influenced this change is the Ukrainian-Russian crisis: although most Belarusians are still on the side of Russia, their number gradually decreases. Most Belarusians evaluate A. Lukashenko’s policy in relation to this crisis positively, but they don’t approve the prospect of doing something more serious than organization of peaceful negotiations. At the same time, pro-European and, more generally speaking, pro-Western orientations of Belarusians shouldn’t be overestimated. Thus, most Belarusians continue to support integration with the East: the number of those who support membership in Eurasian Economic Union is 2.5-fold as high as the number of those who don’t.
As usual, those readers who are more interested in our figures than in our assessments can analyze the research results on their own. The results are presented according to the main socio-demographic characteristics.
In our “Open Forum” rubric we present the most interesting results of work of our colleagues from neighboring countries, publishing the most interesting results of their late surveys. And in the “Bookshelf” rubric well-known Belarusian political expert Sergey Nikoliuk presents an interesting new book “The Future of Belarus. Young Experts’ View”, recently published by the team of young analysts from “The Liberal Club”.
As usual, your feedback and comments are welcome!