IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 4 (46), 2007




No contact
Tell me who your friend is…
Falling back into place
Short reckonings make long friends
Hierarchy of social distances
In search of the one to blame
Who needs this country?
Inflationary consternation
Shock is as we would have it!
About the advantage of an alternative
The law and order in the life of the Belarusians
Economic preferences of the Belarusians: what has changed during 10 years?
Astranged people
Results of the opinion poll conducted in December of 2007


Grigory Ioffe
Once more about Belarusian identity


Olga Lebedinskaya, Victoria Koltun
Local self-government in Belarus


Dear readers!


We offer to your attention the next issue of the “IISEPS News” bulletin presenting materials which reflect the most important findings of the IISEPS studies in the final, the fourth, quarter of 2007.
As we supposed before, a still hidden anxiety of the population concerning the prospects of decrease in their well-being that had appeared after another Belarusian-Russian “oil and gas war”, was finally expressed by means of considerable weakening in mass consciousness of support against the policy which the Belarusian authorities had been conducting for many years. A considerable rise in prices for primary consumer goods (especially for foodstuffs) during the year retouched by the official propaganda, but very well sensed by the population, led to the drastic growth of pessimism in respect of socio-economic prospects of the country. The number of respondents who marked worsening of their financial position for the last three months virtually doubled. On the other hand, the share of citizens who mentioned the rise in prices as the main problem turned out to be record for the last eight years. In addition to all this in the middle of December the authorities carried into effect their May decision concerning cancellation of the main part of benefits and preferences for the population that still had been retained since the Soviet times. All this together led to noticeable rating decrease of A. Lukashenko, the main creator of “the Belarusian economic model”.
These tendencies in mass consciousness were revealed by the national December opinion poll. Analytical materials resulting from the poll are presented on the pages of the bulletin in the rubric “Monitoring of public opinion in Belarus”.
At the same time it would be too early to consider the revealed tendencies final and to examine the prospects of the country’s social development from this standpoint. In particular, V. Putin’s unexpected December visit to Minsk, his “unheard-of generosity” with respect to giving the Belarusian authorities a preferential credit, as well as stable and low (in comparison with Europe) gas rates during the year fixed by Russian suppliers, will most likely make the economic problems easier for the authorities. This in its turn will reduce the urgency of any steps towards liberalization of the economy to say nothing about the political regime in the country. All this will certainly be reflected in public consciousness within the next half year.
For the readers who are more interested in sociological data as such rather than in analytics, we are giving as usual an opportunity to analyze the results of the last national opinion poll on their own. For this purpose we are publishing distribution of answers to the most important questions in the context of the main socio-demographic characteristics.
G. Joffe, a well-known political scientist, professor of Redford University (the USA) appears in our traditional rubric the “Open Forum” in this issue of the bulletin. He knows the Soviet and post-Soviet reality in the countries formed on the ruins of the communist empire quite well. That is why we hope his professional opinion about the political-ethnic situation in Belarus will not leave our readers indifferent.
A collective monograph “Local self-government in Belarus” published by the “Lev Sapega Fund” is presented on the “Bookshelf” this time. It is characteristic of the Belarusian reality that the members of the authors’ group who work at state organizations have been subjected to repressions for publishing of this book, which contains other views than ordered from above. O. Lebedinskaya and V. Koltun, prominent scientists of the National Academy of State Management under the President of Ukraine, present their opinion about this book.
All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!