IISEPS News, N 1 (35), 2005



Strengthening Pro-“wide Europe” Attitudes in Belarus:

President’s prospects in Belarus: opinion of the elite
“Orange Prospects” in Belarus
It all depends on voter’s standpoint
Elite no more trusts the authorities, yet it doesn’t believe in changes
Integration Prospects: with Europe or with Russia?
Does Belarusian economics develop in the right direction?

IISEPS vs. Ministry of Justice
Prospects of democratic presidential candidates

Enduring echo of referendum
Inequity of authorities pushes the people to revolution
No changes at the electoral front?
“Orange” prospects of Belarus!
Entrepreneurs, a social force!
Fiasco of Chernobyl Program
Europe – nearby and remote
Attitude to visa sanctions vs. political frames of mind
Hush is discrediting of authorities
Who says truth about EU countries?
Is it the right course that our economics goes?
Economics is getting better nowadays. How will it look tomorrow?
Who is responsible for corruptibility in the country?
Fresh news from information battlefields

Some results of the nation opinion poll conducted by the IISEPS in March of 2005

Open Forum:

Alexander Voitovich, Academician
“Referendum. Its Consequences for the Country”


Valery Dashkevich, Ph.D.
“Social-Democratic Ideas: Their Value and Potential for Belarus”

Mikhail Plisko, Lawyer, Political Scientist
“Monitoring of Parliamentary Election and National Referendum in the Republic of Belarus. Year 2004”


Dear readers!


The next issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” offers to your attention materials reflecting the most interesting results of the Institute’s studies in the first quarter of 2005.
At that period, public life in Belarus just like in the other CIS member states was to a greater extent influenced by the revolutions in neighboring Ukraine and faraway Kyrgyzstan. These two very different countries, diverse in both history and culture, featured similar outcome: the people rose up and, almost without blood and mass violence, overthrew the power. Commenting on those dramatic events, the Belarusian authorities gave three major reasons of why that could happen: “First, weak power; second, low living standard and third – implementation of Western political technologies.” They also stated that “no revolution will happen in Belarus” as these reasons don’t have grounds in this country. The opposition immediately launched hot discussions of “orange prospects” in Belarus arguing that they are, on the contrary, entirely possible. Millions of the Belarusians who watched over stormy events in Kiev and assault of the presidential palace in Bishkek on their TV’s started thinking more seriously about their living and comparing it not only with the recent past but with the living of their neighbors in the East and in the West. All these processes have been covered in the analytical materials prepared based on the results of January polling among public opinion leaders and experts as well as the nation opinion poll conducted in March.
As before, the opinions of the elite and the electorate in Belarus differ significantly. Thus, 82% of respondents among the elite think that recent stormy events in Ukraine are a process beyond anyone’s control generated by people’s discontent with the policy of the authorities and only 10% say that this is a person-controlled process that happened due to implementation of Western political technologies and weakness of the authorities. As regards the electorate, it has split in two almost equal parts on this crucial issue. Furthermore, the elite is very critical about the current political and economic course and looks more into various political layouts (around the president, in the opposition, in Russia, in the West, etc.) while most Belarusians take it with a moderate optimism and think more about the immediate socio-economic prospects. Politically active part of the society debates on a sole candidate for the democratic forces at the coming presidential election as well as new actions of the West against the Belarusian authorities while common citizens support striking entrepreneurs and express strongly negative attitude to president’s attempts of putting under state control health-recovering trips of Belarusian children abroad. Remarkably, despite active political discontent of the minority and latent socio-economic ferment in the masses, the authorities continue neglecting the first (and even increase the pressure) and quite promptly respond to the second. At the same time, our researches reveal that the standpoints of active minority and silent majority gradually come closer: the first more and more often turn to socio-economic problems while the second take greater concern in politics and human rights violation.
As usual, we give our readers an opportunity to make independent analysis based on the results of our researches presented in the form of trends of change in the Belarusian public opinion as well as the most important issues through basic socio-demographic characteristics.
This time, our “Open Forum” is given to a outstanding respected and experienced public figure and scientist of Belarus Academician A. Voitovich. His thorough analysis of the referendum results in relation to country’s further development – from the viewpoint of both home and foreign prospects – gives a fundamentally new view of these prospects.
On our “Bookshelf”, noted experts M. Plisko and V. Dashkevich introduce new editions of the Belarusian civic society organizations that we hope will be not just interesting but very helpful for many of our readers.
Although the situation turns rather critical for the Institute, as you might have seen from the interview of the IISEPS Director Prof. O. Manaev, we will do our best to work in accordance with our mission here. Therefore, all comments and requests are, as usual, mostly welcome!