1. Unsteady stabilization that IISEPS had written about describing the “economic feeling” of Belarusians at the turn of the previous year displayed a new negative trend in the first quarter of the current year:
• The ratio of those whose financial standing has improved to those whose financial standing has become worse for the last three months, decreased (from 17.4% vs. 26.7% in December to 13.3% vs. 28.7% in March).
• Almost two thirds of respondents consider that Belarusian economy is in a grip of crisis (less than a fourth does not agree with it).
• Comparing their present standard of living with what they had at the end of 2010, 36.7% of respondents said they had begun to live “worse than at that time”, 48.4% – “the same as at that time”, and only 12.2% – “better than at that time”.
• In spite of the fact that, according to the official data, the average pay exceeded $ 500 in dollar terms at the end of the year, the population’s real income dropped: if in September an average income (including salaries, pensions, allowances and other extra earnings) per family member made up $ 260 and $ 275 in December, today it is $ 250.
• At that estimating the danger of a new devaluation of the Belarusian ruble within the next few months 32.1% said it was “a real threat”, 42.7% – “it was possible but unlikely”, and only 19.4% – “it was not going to happen”.
• That is why only 19.7% placed confidence in the Belarusian ruble, and 53.6% – in the American dollar (in December 2010 the ratio was 30.3% vs. 47.4%).
• Furthermore, in spite of the official statistics according to which the unemployment level in the country is lower than 1%, 7.2% of respondents answered “yes, I was registered as unemployed” to the question “Have you ever been unemployed?”; another 29.2% – “yes, but I was not registered with the employment service”.
• Perhaps, due to the fact the number of Belarusians willing to work at private, not state enterprises is gradually growing: if a year ago the ratio was 36.2% vs. 43%, today it is 41% vs. 40.5%.
• Only 41% of respondents are completely, or more likely yes than no, satisfied with the present living conditions in Belarus, and 57.3% are completely, or more likely yes than no, dissatisfied with them.
• The number of those who consider that “in general the state of things is developing in our country in the wrong direction” also grew in comparison with the number of those who gave the opposite answer: in December there was 46.1% vs. 33.5%, today – 51.4% vs. 34.5%.
• Even the cautious optimism that was being observed by the end of the last year is also decreasing: if in December 23.3% of respondents thought that the socio-economic situation in Belarus was going to improve within the next few years, and 29.7% – it was going to become worse, today the ratio has become 15.3% vs. 27.3%.

2. A drop in the “economic felling” intensified again the skeptical attitude of Belarusians to the authorities:
• Thus a third of respondents consider that the money directed at modernization of enterprises declared by the head of state in the New Year address will be spent ineffectively, and 28.1% – that it will be embezzled anyway (only 26.5% think that it will be spent effectively).
• Only 35.4% believe that a technological breakthrough, modernization of the economy and a breakthrough on the basis of the latest technology are possible in Belarus within the next 10 years, and over 40% do not agree with it.
• The majority of respondents pin their hopes for the country’s economic development on attraction of foreign capital (52.8%) and on Belarusian businessmen (34.6%), not on the president (31.6%), the government (27%) or directors of enterprises (22.9%).
• Almost 44% think that human rights are not upheld or rather not upheld in Belarus.
• Answering the question: “What are you concerned about most of all today?” almost a quarter of respondents said they were concerned about the arbitrary rule, and approximately 15% – about a civil war (for comparison – only 11.5% were concerned about foreign aggression), in June 2010 – 17.3% and 9.8% respectively. As it can be seen, the split of society with regard to the authorities is felt by the ordinary public more and more.
• The majority does not a priori believe promises of the authorities to improve the efficiency of their work. Thus only 30.2% answered the question “In January president A. Lukashenko suggested increasing salaries of state officials at the expense of reducing their numbers by 25%. Do you agree that the measure will increase efficiency of the officials’ work?” in the affirmative, and 56.2% – in the negative.
• The unstable economic situation and skeptical attitude towards the authorities inevitably increase readiness of Belarusians for changes: today 74.8% consider that Belarus needs changes, and only 16.2% stick to the opposite opinion (in May 2011 the ratio was 61.1% vs. 32.5%).

3. However, these sentiments are not directly switched to the head of state. Although, as it has been mentioned in the Institute’s recent analytical materials, shifting of responsibility to “negligent officials” which the president has been skillfully using for many years does not have the former effect any more, the resources of public trust in it are far from being exhausted:
• If in December 39.1% of respondents trusted him, and 49.1% did not, then today the rates have become level: 43.4% vs. 43.2%.
• In comparison with December his electoral rating has slightly grown: it was 31.5%, it has become 33.4% (in March of the previous year – 34.5%).
• These data agree with the answers to the question: “How, in your opinion, should president A. Lukashenko act?” In the opinion of 36.5% of respondents he should participate in the elections of 2015; 26.1% think he should not participate in the elections of 2015; 21.4% – that he should leave as soon as possible and do not impede electing a new president, and 6.1% – that he should leave as soon as possible and nominate a successor.

4. However, one should not overestimate the figures of Belarusians’ readiness for changes:
• The ratings of opposition bodies and their leaders have on the whole decreased for three months. Today only 13.1% of respondents trust opposition political parties, and 60.9% do not trust them (in December the ratio was 20% vs. 55.8%); V. Neklyaev’s electoral rating makes up 5.1% (in December – 4.6%), A. Sannikov’s – 2.8% (in December – 4.8%), A. Milinkevich’s – 2.8%.
• 16.9% of respondents consider themselves to be in opposition to the present authorities (in December – 21.3%).
• 75.9% are definitely/more likely not ready to participate in politics more actively (definitely/more likely ready – 21.2%).
• However, a low level of political mobilization or even readiness for it is not yet the most important obstacle in the way to changes that millions of people declare for. An extremely high level of people’s distrust in one another, and not only in many social institutions, is a much more serious problem. Thus answering the question: “Can the majority of people be trusted, or should one be very careful in relations with people?” 70% said it was necessary to be very careful in relations with people, and only 23.1% – that the majority of people could be trusted. What political mobilization is possible without an obvious alternative and social consolidation?
• Nevertheless some directions for changes supporters’ possible work are noticeable. Thus about 11% of respondents answered the question “If in 2014 you are offered to stand in local elections as a candidate will you agree to it?” in the affirmative (756.000 voters of the total number). In spite of the state’s almost total control over mass media, today 52.5% of Belarusians use the Internet on a regular basis (i.e. either daily or several times a week), including social networking websites (in December 2010 – less than 40%).

5. Although so far no considerable changes are being observed in foreign policy orientation of Belarusians, the before registered tendencies continue to develop:
• When facing the necessity of choosing between integration with Russia and entering the European Union at a hypothetical referendum 37.2% declare for the first option, and 42.1% of respondents – for the second one (the ratio used to be 37.7% vs. 43.4%); 28.1% would vote for integration with the RF, and 51.4% – against (in December 28.7% vs. 47.5%).
• In the opinion of 17.6% of respondents Germany should serve as a model for Belarus’ economic development (Russia – 12%, the USA – 9.6%, Poland – 9.3%), and Venezuela received only 0.2%, although Belarusian authorities are constantly talking about a fraternal alliance with it.
• Though the Republic of Belarus still finds itself in isolation on the part of the West (and many of its leaders are even under sanctions), its average citizens go abroad more and more often, and not only as tourists, but also to work. Thus answering the question “Have you, or your relatives and acquaintances, had to go abroad to work for the last several years?” almost 15% of respondents said “yes, once”, and a third – “yes, several times”. Although the majority of them went to Russia for this purpose (34.2%), already 14.1% (over a million people of the adult population) went to the countries of the European Union (including the Baltic States). Obviously these data coincide well with the recently published statistics according to which Belarus ranks first in the world as far as the number of Schengen visas issued per capita is concerned.