IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 4 (62), 2011




The labor market and labor relations of women and youth in Belarus


Personal optimism against the background of public pessimism
To live is difficult, but it can be endured
Does a mythical candidate have a chance?
The “majority” is for democracy and market
I believe because i am loyal
Political apathy as a stability factor
Factors of a geopolitical choice
Who will take a grenade launcher?
Libyan revolution and public opinion of Belarus

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in December 2011


Andrey Dmitriev, vice-chairman of the civil campaign “Tell the truth!”
“Authorities either cannot or do not want to do what citizens expect from them, and opposition either cannot or does not want to become the authority”


Alexey Sokolov, Ph. D.
“Belarus 20/20. In the labyrinth of economic identity”


Dear readers!


In another issue of the analytic bulletin “IISEPS News” we offer to your attention materials reflecting the most important results of the Institute research in the fourth quarter of 2011.
By the end of the year the “economic feeling” of Belarusians had somewhat improved: although the majority was still discontented, their number had decreased, and the number of those who considered that their financial standing had improved and who looked into the future already without apprehension had slightly grown. Not only the “negative adaptation” mechanism characteristic of Belarusians, but also the “pecuniary aid” on the part of Russia which size ambassador A. Surikov valued at $ 7.5 billion, must have become the reason for it. At the same time, the changes have a “cautious nature”, as only 35% of respondents assessing the present economic position said there had been “temporary difficulties in the country in the previous year that had been successfully overcome” or that “there had been a crisis, but the worst was already behind and an improvement began”; and about 57% – that “a crisis had begun in the country in the previous year and it was going to become deeper”. Two thirds consider that market reforms should be implemented in Belarus.
The improvement has also noticeably told upon the way Belarusians “feel politically”, i.e. upon their attitude to the authorities. The number of those who think that in general the situation in Belarus is developing “in the wrong direction” has decreased for the fourth quarter; “in the right direction” – on the contrary, has grown. The number of those who blame the president for the current crisis in Belarus has declined; on the other hand, the “guilt” of the government and the parliament has grown. Accordingly, the number of respondents who do not trust the president has decreased, and the number of those who trust him has increased, and his rating has grown from 20.5% to 24.9%. At the same time, the number of those who expect improvement of life in Belarus after A. Lukashenko’s resignation still exceeds the number of those who expect its worsening; less than a third suppose that he understands problems and concerns of such people as they are, and over a half of respondents do not agree with it. Answering the question: “If you knew a person who could successfully compete with A. Lukashenko at the next presidential elections, would you vote for him, or for A. Lukashenko?” the majority of respondents said they would vote for such a candidate. In other words, in the public opinion the president still obviously remains “in arrears”. Discontent of Belarusians with the state of affairs in the country is also confirmed by the fact that, in spite of the open trial given to the organizers of the explosion in Minsk underground and the bulk of statements and publications called to consolidate the official version in the eyes of the society, the majority of Belarusians apprehended the severe sentence of the court with doubt: there are more respondents who do not believe that the accused have carried out the act of terror than those who do. Almost two thirds consider that public opinion does not influence making of political, social and economic decisions in our country. Over 70% think that it is more important today to change the present situation in the country than to preserve it. Almost 58% would like cardinal changes in the home and foreign policy to take place in Belarus within the next five years.
Some improvement of the financial standing in combination with the lack of faith in a possibility of cardinal changes also conditioned a decrease in the protest potential in the society. The majority still does not believe in a possibility of cardinal changes within the next few years. The number of those who consider themselves in opposition to the present authorities has dropped for three months. The degree of readiness for public actions for the sake of expressing one’s opinion (such as political meetings, demonstrations, strikes, hunger strikes and armed struggle) remains at the previous level. The “aggregate” rating of the opposition leaders still makes up about 20%.
Russian “pecuniary aid” in combination with the obvious “cooling of relations” at the “Western front” also influenced geopolitical preferences of Belarusians: their pro-European attitude decreased appreciably, and if they had to choose between integration with Russia and joining the European Union, the choice would change in favor of Russia. The majority of respondents consider it acceptable if Russian capital takes part in privatization of Belarusian enterprises. Belarusians treat the declaration of Eurasian economic integration mainly positively or with indifference. At the same time, the majority does not support the development of territorial defense called to “defend the western borders” considering it a waste of money.
For those readers who are more interested in our figures than in assessments we afford ground for analyzing the research results on their own by means of counting up in terms of main socio-demographic characteristics.
Andrey Dmitriev, vice-chairman of the civil campaign “Tell the truth!” shares his thoughts about political problems of the Belarusian society at out “Open Forum”. His assessments of the modern condition of the opposition, the authorities and the society as a whole, forecasts of the development of their relations are called forth mainly by his experience of participation in the presidential campaign of 2010, which undoubtedly makes them rather interesting.
In the “Bookshelf” rubric Alexey Sokolov, Ph. D., presents a new book by independent Belarusian economists L. Zaiko and Y. Romanchuk.
As usual your feedback and comments are welcome!