IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 4 (70), 2013




Another start of the negative trend
A successful year for young and old
The guilty one will become the saviour
The second advent of the “new majority”?
Negative dynamics of trust to institutes
In expectation of the growth of opposition moods
Civil duty and survival strategy
“The young October is ahead”?

Geopolitical balance

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in December-2013


Positive and negative sides of the break-up of the Soviet Union
Sociology of Maidan
Thus passes the glory of the world


Uladzimir Padgol, Ph.D.
“Zmitser Dashkevich. “A Worm”


Dear readers!

In the 70th issue (a respectable age for a quarterly periodical in Belarusian conditions!) of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” we offer to your attention materials reflecting the most interesting results of Institute’s work in the fourth quarter of 2013.
Our surveys show that the unstable character of Belarusians’ “economic well-being” became even more noticeable in the fourth quarter after its return in autumn after the spring-summer period of stabilization. Thus, noticeably decreased the ratio of those whose financial standing became better over the last three month to those whose financial standing became worse. The number of Belarusians, who consider Belarusian economy in crisis, increased by more than 11%, despite a certain increase of real incomes. The level of optimism for the future decreased even more. Personal experience leads more and more people to understanding of the essence of the “Belarusian model”. For example, according to 28.7% of respondents “without the help of Russia there would be no progress in the Belarusian economy”, and 34.1% of respondents consider that “there is no progress in the Belarusian economy”. Eventually the number of those who think that “in general the state of things in our country is developing in the right direction” decreases more and more in comparison with those who give the opposite answer, just like in the crisis year 2011.
The worsening of the “economic well-being” of Belarusians inevitably influenced their attitude to the state power. Thus, there is a considerable decrease of the level of trust to all state institutes. What’s even more im-portant, these moods are spreading on the head of state, just like after the socio-economic crisis in 2011. People disagreed with almost all of the most important A. Lukashenko’s statements on the socio-economic state of the country made recently. The growing discontent with the socio-economic policy of the President starts to apply to the attitude towards him. For the first time since December 2011 the number of respondents, who consider that life in Belarus will get better after his demission, exceeded the number of those who share the counter-opinion. For the first time over the year the number of those who don’t trust the President exceeded the number of those who trust him. And the most important – the electoral rating of A. Lukashenko started to decrease considerably for the first time since August 2012: while in September 42.6% of respondents were ready to vote for him, today the number is only 34.8%.
How much does the worsening of the “economical well-being” and of the attitude to the state power increases the readiness for changes, including the support to opposition? From the one hand, the number of those who consider themselves in opposition to the present power increased considerably, from the other hand the growth of popular discontent still doesn’t lead to supporting the opposition. Electoral ratings of oppositional parties and their leader do not increase and for some of them even decrease. A noticeable increase of rating is observed only for the leader of the civil campaign “Tell the Truth” V. Neklyaev. As for the elections to the local Councils, only 44% of respondents are going to vote on them despite the evident decrease of their role in the social and political process. Only 30.2% of them are going to vote for the candidates supporting A. Lukashenko, almost 22% – for the candidates opposing him, and 34.4% – for “other candidates”.
What concerns the foreign-policy orientation of Belarusians, there is a thaw in the relations to Europe and a cold snap in relations to Russia. This process is not so evident and needs further investigation if we keep in mind the deep cultural and historical communion of Belarusians and Russians and the limited experience of communication with European culture. For example, the cold snap happened despite the fact that most Belarus-ians clearly understand the benefits of cooperation with the Eastern neighbor. Probably this is due to the way Belarusian state propaganda has presented the intergovernmental relations and the most important events of the neighboring country recently. At the same time the rapprochement initiatives of the European Union are perceived in a positive way by a lot of Belarusians. This is true for the attitude of Belarusians to the “East Partnership” summit in Vilnius and for the recent statement of the Polish ambassador that his country is “ready not only to reduce the cost of the visa, but to cancel completely entrance visas for Belarusians; and the solution to this question depends only on the Belarusian authorities, who have to sign a special agreement with the EU”.
As usual, those readers who are more interested in our figures than in our assessments can analyze the re-search results on their own. The results are presented by the main socio-demographic characteristics.
In our “Open Forum” rubric we present the most interesting results of work of our colleagues from neighboring countries. In the “Bookshelf” rubric the famous Belarusian political analyst Vladimir Podgol introduces the book of the Young Front movement leader Zmitser Dashkevich. The recent political prisoner reveals the specific character of the Belarusian society through the prism of his experience as a prisoner.
As usual, your feedback and comments are welcome!