IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 3 (57), 2010




Presidential campaign-2010: the electoral landscape
Pre-election multi-directivity of indices
The problem of Buridan’s ass
Between the dictator and the father
To the World level! Passing the European one…
I do not trust you!
“The Godfather” in the mirror of the public opinion
Always tell the truth and you’ll be heard
Human rights defenders through the eyes of the population
“Belarus is our Russia
Religiousness and morals of Belarusians

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in September


Vladimir Neklyaev, leader of the civic campaign “Tell the truth!”
“Belarus after the elections”


Konstantin Skuratovich, Ph. D.
“Everything and nothing”


Dear readers!


In the regular issue of the “IISEPS News” analytical bulletin we offer to your attention materials representing the most interesting results of the Institute activity in the third quarter of 2010.
The way Belarusians “feel economically” has been getting more and more “contrasting” recently: the number of respondents who mark improvement of their financial standing, as well as its worsening is increasing. Dynamics of economic expectations look even more disturbing: if the number of those who expect improving of the socio-economic situation in Belarus within the next years remains almost on the same level, then the number of those who expect worsening has grown. It points to the fact that the faith of many people in the “Belarusian economic miracle”, their confidence in the future is gradually growing weaker in spite of “the pre-election presents”. The problem is not so much in the instability of the “economic feeling” (as feelings are changeable), but rather in the unsteadiness of the economic values it has an influence upon: for instance, the number of people who prefer market economy and work at private enterprises has noticeably decreased during the last years, although its growth had been observed since the middle of the 90s to the middle of the zero years.
The presidential election campaign which has started in Belarus makes actual the interest of Belarusians in politics – in politicians, as well as in political values. Over 35% of Belarusians consider that the personality cult of A. Lukashenko exists in Belarus, additional 28% think there is no personality cult so far; however, there are more and more prerequisites for it. At the same time, those who trust the president simultaneously approve of concentrating of virtually all power in his hands and see no cult in it. It confirms the fact that the authoritarian power in Belarus personified by “the father” possesses rather a wide social base.
Rating of the president has somewhat decreased during three months, and ratings of his opponents have grown. However, the “united” electoral body of the opposition politicians who have registered their initiative groups in the CEC is a lot behind the electoral body of their main opponent. The main motif of electoral preferences of Belarusians is as follows: “he possesses the real power and will be able to improve the situation in the country”. At that among those who are ready to vote today for A. Lukashenko this motif was mentioned by twice as many people than among all respondents put together. Already today 60% are saying they will participate in these elections, another quarter “will decide whether to participate in them or not depending on the political situation” (previous experience shows the majority of them will go to the elections), and only 11.4% mentioned they would not take part in them. In addition, readiness of president’s supporters and his opponents to participate in the elections differs greatly: if among those who are ready to vote for A. Lukashenko 78.5% are going to take part in them, then among those who are ready to vote for, e.g. G. Kostusev – only 44.7%.
The gaining strength conflict between the Belarusian and Russian leadership embodied in the NTV series “The Godfather” obviously became the most appreciable summer event. The authorities called it “the absolute lie” and “dirt” and the opposition, on the contrary – the truth signifying “the forthcoming end of the last dictatorship in Europe”. The data of the poll confirm the opinion of neither of the parties: every second person knows about the movies, almost every third person watched them, almost every fourth considers them the truth, and only every tenth respondent has changed his opinion for the worse. However, this conflict and the anti-Russian rhetoric of the authorities and of mass propaganda provoked by it had a certain influence upon geopolitical attitudes of Belarusians. Thus, the number of those who are ready to vote “for” at a hypothetical referendum on Belarus joining the European Union has notably increased. Nevertheless, growth of pro-European attitudes, just as it has been the case before, does not lead to a “mirror like” decrease in the pro-Russian ones. The fact, perhaps, can be explained by the following: attitude to Russia of the majority of modern Belarusians is an underlying part of their psychology and culture and thus is not so much prone to the influence of on-line information. It also means that dynamics of attitudes of Belarusians can change while the conflict between Minsk and Moscow is being solved.
The stable character of underlying social structures and values of the Belarusian society, which perhaps deter-mines the inertness and even “resistibility” to changes and innovations, is especially evident in the everyday life. However, if globalization processes inevitably open the world for Belarusians, “water down” their traditions and habits, then life in an authoritarian state, on the contrary, reinforces and sometimes even enhances their natural conservatism. The extremely low level of such a basic socio-psychological characteristic as trust, not the political or socio-economic attitudes of Belarusians, has become the most startling result of the given opinion poll. The question: “Is it possible to trust the majority of people or is it necessary to be very careful in relations with them?” was answered in the affirmative only by 23.6% of respondents, and 72.2% considered that “it is necessary to be very careful in relations with people”.
As usual, for those who are interested in our figures more than in assessments, we offer an opportunity to analyze on their own the results of the researches in the form of direct calculation in the frame of the main socio-demographic characteristics.
This time the “Open Forum” has been given to the famous Belarusian poet and leader of the civic initiative “Tell the truth!” V. Neklyaev, who is not only taking an active part in the presidential campaign which has just commenced, but is also seriously thinking about what is going to happen to our motherland and to us after the elections.
In our “Bookshelf” rubric K. Skuratovich, Ph. D., presents to the readers a unique book of the Belarusian writer of political essays A. Tomkovich “Destinies” in which the readers are going to find unknown aspects about the lives of fifty public figures well-known in Belarus.