IISEPS News, N 3 (21), 2001



Belarus: prospects in the XXI century:
Results of a national public opinion poll

Open Forum:
S. Bogdankevich, IISEPS Advisory Board Chairman, United Civic Party Honorary Chairman, deputy of the XIII Supreme Soviet, former chairman of the National Bank Board
Lessons of defeat… What’s next?


Dear readers!


In the next, the XXI issue of the bulletin “IISEPS News” we offer you the most interesting results of surveys, conducted on the basis of sociological procedures done by the institute in July-September this year.
This period coincided with the completion of the presidential campaign, which mainly resulted in a real social-political choice made by the adult population of Belarus on September 9. The choice is to be reckoned with, though many analysts, and also public opinion leaders and experts, who took part in our September opinion poll, cast doubt on A. Lukashenko’s victory because of violations during the presidential campaign.
Today there is no full comprehension of what happened. The authorities and their electorate are staying in euphoria of the stunning victory, without even trying to make an objective analysis of consequences of the result received. The opposition and the majority of its supporters are keeping sad silence, having no intention of taking a sober view of roots and reasons for the failure. However, even without an analysis, it is possible to say that if allegations of an unprecedented falsification of voting results prove true, the country is likely to face not a consolidation of all society strata, as officially reported, but a deepening of national split able to lead to a tragedy in the near future – loss of independence by the Belarusian state.
It is possible to put it this way because, contrary to the opposition hopes, the Kremlin’s official support for A. Lukashenko and public approval of the election returns, regardless of all signs of their falsification, became one of the main results of the election. It makes one believe that any maxims by Moscow-based politicians about democracy and human rights matter only in the wake of problems in the USA, Great Britain, Chili, etc., but not regarding countries within the zone of Russian strategic interests.
Therefore, we hope to continue working on objective assessment of processes taking place in socium and public consciousness, to promptly report them to the thinking part of the population, to foresee public development tendencies and directions.
As well as the previous issue, the given bulletin issue is almost totally devoted to results of the project “Belarus: prospects in the XXI century,” which is being carried out by the IISEPS jointly with colleagues from Belarusian Think Tanks in cooperation with a wide representation of Belarus’s democratic forces. Data of regular sociological monitoring of public opinion and opinion of elite, as well as information without comments, traditionally provided in the context of major social-demographic groups and trends, gives, of course, not full, but a reliable picture of state of society during the completion of the presidential election.
This time our traditional rubric “Open Forum” is given to Professor Stanislav Bogdankevich, IISEPS Advisory Board Chairman, United Civic Party Honorary Chairman, deputy of the XIII Supreme Soviet, former chairman of the National Bank Board. S. Bogdankevich’s well-considered approach to actual issues of present life is well known to his colleagues and opponents, and therefore, as we see it, the reader would be able to estimate at true worth his attempt to analyze the state and prospects of opposition forces formed as a result of the presidential election.
As usual, we hope that materials of this issue would be interesting and useful for you and your colleagues. We are looking forward to receive your comments!