IISEPS News, N 4 (38), 2005




Other Alexander, other Belarus
Elite recognized a sole candidate for democratic forces A. Milinkevich
Stub of freedom
How do “common citizens” live?
Civic identity
European prospects for Belarus
Elite want into EU but don’t believe that they can succeed
“Savior” of Russian civilization will come from the West?..
Elite trust the internet and watch Euronews

Some results of the nation opinion poll
Results of the opinion poll among leaders and experts

Are we far away from Europe?
(about Round table in Brest)


Vladimir Neklyaev, Chairman of the Belarusian PEN Center
Artist, Power, Freedom


Leonid Zaiko, Ph.D., Head of the “Strategy” Analytical Center
“Oleg Manaev. Emerging of a Civil Society in the Independent Belarus. Sociological Experience: 2001-2005”

Official warning about inadmissibility of law violation


Dear readers!


This new issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” offers to your attention materials reflecting the most interesting results of Institute’s studies in the fourth quarter of 2005.
The most important event of this period which specifically influenced the immediate past and the near future of Belarus is we think pre-term presidential election. In the light of this decision, many events of social and political life are assessed differently. What previously seemed an issue of imagination (scientific or casual) is coming true presently. Survey results given in this issue help understand better the true causes and possible consequences of this decision. Clearly, latent factors which are beyond comprehension of experts or general audience exert considerable influence on the social and political life and the decisions of the supreme power. In the opinion of many, the most recent meeting of the Belarusian and Russian presidents in Sochi has become such a factor. They probably discussed possibility and cost of A. Lukashenko’s election for the third term. However, we are convinced that the most important factor taken into account both in the Red House (presidential residence in Minsk) and in the Kremlin (as well as in Brussels and Washington) is the real situation in Belarus and, first of all, readiness of the society to go on with or change the current course.
The major reason which urged the Belarusian president to approximate the election date (even at the cost of his current term reduction by almost four months), as our latest survey shows, has become the growth of his rating as compared to growth… of his main rival’s rating. In reality, there’s nothing surprising in this decision. On the one hand, president’s rating has gone up by more than 10% over the past six months (according to our data, it is for the first time since the Russian default in 1998 that it exceeded 50%) which gives him obvious advantages but they cannot remain for long as concentration of administrative, socio-economic, informational and other resources exhausts the authoritarian regime. On the other hand, rapidly growing rating of A. Milinkevich (especially since he failed to organize a large-scale informational campaign for the two months after his election) and the possibility of further consolidation of democratic forces are hardly threatening but very unpleasant for the president as his aim is not a victory but ‘an elegant victory.’ We assume that any experienced politician who thoroughly analyzed our latest data would take the same decision even disregarded the factor of V. Putin. At the same time, analysis of this data helps any participant of the presidential race develop a strategy or tactics which would increase his chances for victory. Who and how will use it – it’s their own affair.
Another important focus of our latest survey is geo-political orientations of Belarusians, which has become the topic of the special round table discussion held in Brest. Analysis of dynamics of these orientations among the elite and among the electorate reveals both positive and negative tendencies. Apparent pro-European and pro-Russian orientations conflicting with one another or making odd maneuvers within many years have lately started opposing apparent isolationist orientations. What’s more, we think that the opinion on the Belarusian geopolitical choice made in the Red House and not in the Foreign Ministry or the Parliament does not correspond to reality. This choice – deliberate or not – is constantly made in the minds of millions of Belarusians. Hence, it can be influenced even under no freedom conditions. How? Politicians and experts may find answers to this question if they analyze our data including the materials of the round table discussion. Therefore, as usual, we give our readers an opportunity to make independent analysis based on the results of our surveys which are presented in the so-called count-up form in the light of basic socio-demographic characteristics.
On the “Open Forum,” well-known Belarusian writer Vladimir Neklyaev, Chairman of the Belarusian PEN-Center, shares his thoughts about the current living and possible prospects as well as relations between the intellectuals and supporters of changes and the authorities. He spent years both beside the authorities and in emigration, so he well realizes the subject matter of his talk.
Unfortunately, it has become a tradition to publish here the materials demonstrating increasing fight of the Belarusian authorities against the civic society, including independent research centers. As it has turned out, these attacks haven’t stopped after IISEPS closure in April of 2005. On the New Year eve, Santa Claus came to us in the person of S. Novikov, senior investigator of the Chief Prosecutor’s Office, and presented us a gift – “Official Warning of Inadmissibility of Law Violation.” The materials of this case are presented before our “Bookshelf,” and a noted Belarusian scientist L. Zaiko introduces in this column to a new book of Prof. O. Manaev about emerging of the civil society in independent Belarus.
All in all the life’s going on, and therefore, as usual, we look forward to your feedbacks!