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BULLETINS “IISEPS NEWS” N 3 (37) SEPTEMBER

IISEPS News, N 3 (37), 2005

Content:

Preface

STRENGTHENING PRO-“WIDE EUROPE” ATTITUDES IN BELARUS:

September-2005
Foes all around!?
Polish issue
Those whom the Belarusians trust
Who is who in Belarus
The currency which Belarusians prefer
The incomes they receive in Belarus
State care about common Belarusians
Are Belarusians concerned about unemployment?
What is going on over integration?
For truly bilingual country: Belarusian vs Russian languages
Belarus – for Belarusians?
What do people think about fluctuations of A. Lukashenko’s rating?
Rating of A. Lukashenko and his rivals
Sidewalk democracy
Trust to the mass media
Some results of the nation opinion poll conducted in September of 2005

OPEN FORUM:

Prof. Oleg Manaev, Ph.D., Director of IISEPS
The Report at the Congress of Democratic Forces

Alexander Bukhvostov, Chairman of Organizing Committee at the Congress of Democratic Forces
Time of changes’s come; we shouldn’t miss it

Brief on the talk with O. T. Manaev in the Belarusian Ministry of Justice

BOOKSHELF:

Igor Pelipas, Ph.D., Director of the Recearch Center of Institution of Privatization and Management
“Belarus: Road into the Future. Manual for the Parliament”

Preface:

Dear readers!

 

This issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” offers to your attention materials reflecting the most interesting results of institute’s studies in the third quarter of 2005.
In August, during his business trip around Slutsk district, A. Lukashenko stated that he had been actually carrying presidential election campaign starting from September 10, 2001. This means that all the resources he has (administrative, financial, informational, etc.), i.e. all state resources, have been used for only one purpose – his election for the third term in July 2006. Many events and phenomena of the Belarusian public and political life become clear in the light of this statement. For example, this is growing rating of the president: after a minor decrease (47.7% right after the October referendum, 46.4% in March and 41.7% in May 2005) it went up in September to 47.3%. As the election date comes, budgetary payments to certain population groups go up, Russia-Belarus relations turn steady, propaganda campaign gets more aggressive, self-isolation at the international arena increases, etc. All this wouldn’t happen if not for the targeted and unlimited use of state resources.
Another result of this campaign is the significant growth of isolation-oriented and even negative attitude of the Belarusians to the outside world. Many Belarusians started taking their closest neighbors from the EU – Baltic States and Poland – as hostile and far-away Iran and North Korea – as friendly countries. As the research shows, these attitudes haven’t yet penetrated deep into the mass consciosness and mass behavior (on the scale of social distance, these peoples are taken fairly well), yet the state propaganda undoubtedly affects it.
Progressively closer attention – both on the part of the authorities and the opposition – is presently given to the potential of changes within the society. Can any colored revolution happen in Belarus in the near future? The latest data shows that this potential shouldn’t be either underestimated or overestimated. Thus, asked “Do you believe that A. Lukashenko can be dismissed following “colored revolution?” less than 15% of respondents answered in the positive and less than 10% of respondents confirmed their readiness to take part in such an action. On the other hand, almost 45% spoke out for giving presidential powers to the other candidate, and exactly the same number of respondents wants to re-elect A. Lukashenko for the next term. This “potential energy for changes” may turn into kinetic only when Belarusians see an alternative candidate corresponding to their expectations. As of now, although 57.8% of respondents considers that Belarus should have an opposition to the current authorities and over 50% would like to know more about it, only 17.2% places themselves among the opposition to authorities and approximately the same number of respondents says that they happened to meet and talk to members of political parties over the past years. Since supporters of changes cannot count on state resources, the problem of efficient political communication and informing is coming to the foreground. The National Congress of Democratic Forces (Its peak of preparation fell exactly to the third quarter) revealed that in general this problem can be solved even in unfavorable conditions: 8.5% of respondents know the people who took part in delegate nomination, over 20% heard about the process and nearly 35% don’t support hindering actions of the authorities.
As usual, we present the most important issues in the light of basic socio-demographic characteristics as well as the trends of change in Belarusian public opinion over the past years to those of our readers who prefer pure figures to analytics.
In our opinion, National Congress of Democratic Forces has become the major event of public and political life in this period. Therefore, we give our “Open Forum” to A. Bukhvostov, Chairman of the Congress’ Organizing Committee and a noted Belarusian politician, and to Prof. O. Manaev, IISEPS Director, who introduced the delegates to the latest results of public opinion poll.
Although the IISEPS was closed in April of 2005 upon the decision of the Supreme Court, government-exerted pressure on the Institute continues taking sometimes brutal and sometimes ridiculous forms. The Brief of the Justice Ministry published in this bulletin is a proof of this pressure.
This time our “Bookshelf” has been given to the reputed Belarusian economist I. Pelipas who presents a new book of our colleagues from the Strategy analytical center. This book gives deep analysis of the most important events taking place in Belarus over the past years as well as considers their possible developments and ways of their implementation.
All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!

IISEPS Board