IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 1 (51), 2009




From the life of the social indices
Pursuing an incomprehensible course in an obscure direction
In search of an answer to the classical question
Superpower in the Belarusian way
Devaluation of trust
Foreign countries are going to help us
Watch out! The authorities!
I vote, but I take no interest in it
Paternalism and liberalization – two in one
“Let us contrive a despot…”
The disunity
The poor and the rich
The warm wind from the West
Some results of the opinion poll conducted in March


Prof. S. Bogdankevich, Ph. D.
Do the authorities need a dialogue?


Prof. A. Gorbatsky, Ph. D.
A. Lysiuk. “Socio-cultural determination of political leadership: content, means, evolution”

V. Akulich, Ph. D.
“Rating of Belarusian cities and towns 2008: conditions of human capital development”


Dear readers!


In the regular issue of the “IISEPS News” we offer to your attention materials representing the activity results of the Institute in the first quarter of 2009.
The expanding economic crisis, in spite of all the assurances of the authorities in “complete wellbeing on the territory entrusted to them”, presented the widely advertised “Belarusian model of the economic development” with the problem of elementary survival. Even the official statistics revealed in the first quarter a considerable decline in the output in many branches and a unanimous and inevitable sliding down of the majority of the socio-economic indices in the unpleasant direction.
Results of the national opinion poll conducted by the institute in March showed that the Belarusians had not only realized inevitability of economic problems which had enveloped the country, but had also sensed them personally in the form of rise in prices, reduction of wages, decrease of the working time and forced holidays without retention of salaries. The majority understands already quite precisely the real reasons for the crisis phenomena which have overburdened the national economy, and they have also identified the responsible for the situation that is taking shape. The possibility of the mentioned above responsibility looming ahead gives rise to the nervousness of the country’s leadership. It is enough to pay attention to the feverish throwing of the Belarusian leader from the East to the West and from the West to the East in search of means for the Belarusian econ-omy maintenance which is equivalent today to the retention of power by the ruling elite.
The daily changing rhetoric of the head of the Belarusian state also testifies to the inability of the authorities to define the top-priority anti-crisis measures which would at least allow stabilizing of the economic situation in the country. He either literally gives vent to his bile defaming the opposition and does not notice that he is bringing back to life problems in relations with the West, representatives of which he ingratiatingly invited to investment expansion only the day before. Or he unexpectedly “proves” Russia guilty of some unfriendly actions and straight away prepares for another rendezvous with the Kremlin leadership. Or public and state formations assigned to the conduct of a dialogue between the authorities and representatives of the civil society for the purpose of search of ways and mechanisms for overcoming negative tendencies in various spheres of public life begin to be widely advertised. Or the authorities absolutely “forget” about these formations postponing the intended meetings till the undefined time. Such inconsistency together with the traditional hope for the “hit-or-miss fashion” and the continuing emphasis on “gross output” and planning in compliance with “what has been achieved” once again show the level of understanding by the present leadership of the depth of the economic problems which the country is facing.
As usual, some results of the March national opinion poll in the frame of the main socio-demographic groups of the population are offered in this part for the most curious readers.
In this issue the editorial board gives floor in “The open forum” rubric to one of the most famous opposition economists, former president of the National bank, a deputy of the Supreme Soviet of the Republic of Belarus of the XIII convocation, Honorable chairman of the Joint civil party, chairman of the IISEPS advisory board of many years and simply remarkable person professor S. Bogdankevich. As it is known, his candidacy was included into the Public advisory council attached to the presidential administration, the first meeting of which has already taken place. What made the famous opposition leader take part in that organ, what he set himself as an object in connection with it, what results he expected to receive – one can read about all this in his article “Do the authorities need a dialogue?”
This time two reviews are presented in the “Bookshelf” rubric. The first one, written by professor A. Gorbatsky, is devoted to the monograph of the well-known political scientist, prominent representative of the Belarusian independent sociological science, A. Lysiuk in which topical problems of the socio-cultural determination of political leadership are being scrutinized. In the opinion of the reviewer, “problems elaborated in the monograph as well as the achieved scientific results have the obvious applied character and can be actively used by political elites and associations of experts in the contemporary political process”.
The second review, written by the V. Akulich, presents to the readers a book of a group of authors dealing with quite a new for our country problem – ranging of Belarusian towns and cities according to the conditions of the human capital development. In the opinion of the reviewer, gradation of Belarusian towns and cities according to a number of socio-economic indices, made for the first time, allowed revealing of some important and relatively new tendencies in social development of regions and towns of the country. It gives us every reason to suppose that the book under review is going to call forth unquestionable interest not only by the specialists.
As usual, any feedback and comments are welcome!