(were interviewed 1.504 persons aged 18 and over, margin of error doesn’t exceed 0.03)


1. It seems that the “split” of public and economic consciousness which emerged under the conditions when the fear of total destabilization, inflicted by the influence of the Ukrainian events, “overshadowed” the reality for millions of Belarusians, gradually disappears:

– Thus, the ratio of those, whose financial standing improved over the fourth quarter of the year, to those, whose financial standing worsened, decreased again: from 13.5% vs. 24.6% in September down to 13.7% vs. 31% in December. The share of pessimists, who consider that “socio-economic situation in Belarus will worsen within the next few years” increased from 22.5% in September up to 33.9% in December. As a result, the expectation index decreased by 6.4 points against the background of a notable decrease of the financial standing index. In comparison with December 2013 the number of respondents, who consider that the past year was more difficult for Belarus than the previous one, jumped from 38.6% up to 45.6%. Average income per one family member (including salaries, pensions, welfare payments and others) declined from $285 in September up to $288 in December. Other indices were almost “frozen” on the same level: in September the ratio of those who consider that country’s economy is in crisis was 54.2% vs. 36.5%, today it equals to 52.3% vs. 35.5%; the ratio of those who consider that “in general the state of things in our country is developing in the right direction” and those who disagree with that equaled to 43% vs. 43.5% in September and to 43% vs. 43.5% today.

– Analysis of economic consciousness’ dynamics over the years of independence shows that pro-market setups of Belarusians increase after all. Thus, the number of respondents who consider that private land ownership is inadmissible in Belarus fell from 26.6% in December 1993 down to 19.6% in December 2014. Over the same period the number of those who consider it admissible that foreigners owned land in Belarus jumped from 20.3% up to 30.6%. The number of those who think that very rich people are necessary for a society increased from 60.2% up to 68.6%.


2. Another point that is shown by the analysis is that economy defines Belarusians’ attitude towards the state power more and more often:

– Thus, over the last year the number of respondents considering that Belarus should carry out market-friendly reforms increased from 59.7% up to 63.2%. However, since September 2008 until December 2014, the number of those, who consider that market-friendly reforms are advancing successfully, decreased from 29.8% down to 19.9%, and the number of those who think that “they have never really started” increased from 15.7% up to 26.5%. Over the same period the number of those, who consider that recently there were more favorable changes in the economy of the country, decreased from 20.7% down to 10.8%, and the number of those who share the opposite opinion increased from 24.4% up to 35.4%. In January 2007 68.2% of respondents considered that it is mostly hard labor that leads to wealth, while 37.6% thought that it was education; today accordingly 47% and 26.2% of respondents think so.

– Answering the question “To which extent do the citizens of Belarus accomplish their obligations to the state (observe the laws, pay the taxes and so on)?”, 61.4% of respondents chose the answer “to the full extent/mostly accomplish”, while only 7% chose the answer “mostly/completely don’t accomplish”. There is nothing surprising, that answering the question “To which extent does the state accomplish its obligations to the citizens of Belarus?” the ratio amounted to 35.9% vs. 29.2%. That is why over 60% of respondents agreed with the statement of the Prime Minister M. Myasnikovich that “the main problem of Belarusian economy lies in helpless and passive leaders, who cannot do anything without directions from the top” (32.4% of respondents didn’t agree with that). The deepening of the breach between the power and the people is especially evident in the answers to the question “According to you, is there a national unity in Belarus today?” The share of answers “rather yes” turned out to be not much higher than the share of answer “rather no”: 48.4% vs. 42.9% (only 8.7% had difficulties answering the question).

– The increase of importance of economic factor in formation of Belarusians’ attitude towards the power is particularly notable in comparison with the dynamics of changing of attitude towards the problems of democracy, political freedoms and human rights. For example, in March 2003 the ratio of positive and negative answers to the question “According to you, are human rights respected in Belarus?” was 32.2% vs. 62.4%, today it is 57.6% vs. 37.7%. In June 2011 in answers to the question “What do you think about the readiness of people in Belarus to express their political views?” the ratio of answers “no one is/very few are afraid” vs. “a lot of/all people are afraid” was 27.5% vs. 68.4%, while today it is 41.1% vs. 54.2%. The President recently stated that “In the post-Soviet countries people are fed up with democracy. Now, on the contrary, there is a process going on in which people are more supportive of the concept of a strong state, which will not allow chaos, even more so a civil war, especially after the events in Ukraine.” 55.5% of respondents agreed with it, while 32.1% disagreed.

– Economy in particular becomes the most serious issue for the leadership of the country. For the first time over the last year the trend on the increase of A. Lukashenko’s trust level and electoral rating changed to an opposite one: in December 2013 37.7% of respondents trusted him, in June – 49.6%, in September – 53.5%, today – 49.9%; accordingly 34.8%, 39.8%, 45.2% of respondents were ready to vote for him on presidential elections, today this share amounts to 40%. Answering the question “What image of the present President do you have?” 38.9% of respondents in January 2007 considered that “he slowly, but steadily pursues the aim by way of reforms”, while 13% thought that “he aims at maintaining current governance system”; today these shares amount to 27.8% and 24.8% accordingly. 42.3% of respondents agreed with his recent statement “Honesty and justice, that I have promised you, still define my policy.” The same share of respondents disagreed with that, and 15.4% had difficulties to answer the question. The direct question “Are you ready to personally protect Alexander Lukashenko from some threat?” was answered positively by 18.7% and negatively by 62.2% of respondents (19.1% had difficulties in answering the question).


3. Readiness for changes among Belarusians, which theoretically should have increased as a results of the trend change, is still “under the carpet” of social and political life:

– Thus, the number of those, who think that fundamental changes in internal and external policies of Belarus are “quite possible” in the next five years, amounts to 34.4%, 45.9% of respondents think that these changes are “unlikely” and 13.9% consider them “impossible” (5.8% didn’t know how to answer). 51.9% of respondents would like these changes to happen, while 17.7% wouldn’t (19.9% are indifferent and 10.5% didn’t know how to answer). However, it is premature to celebrate for the democratic opposition, because the very perception of “fundamental changes” is quite varying in Belarusian society: only 44.1% of respondents perceive them as a decrease of state’s role in the social life and as an accordance of greater freedom of actions to its citizens, while 46.4% of respondents perceive them on the contrary as a strengthening of state’s role in society, a bigger support to the citizens. For example, only 17% of respondents agreed with the raise of retirement age, while 76.7% disagreed.

– Against the background of the events in Ukraine this perception of changes led to a minimal level of participation in public protests for almost 15 years of IISEPS monitoring: in August 2001 16.7% of respondents took part in rallies and pickets, 12.9% – in strikes and 4% – in hunger strikes; in December 2014 these numbers amounted to 9.3%, 1.6%, 0.8% accordingly.

– Corresponding moods are projected on 2015, the year of presidential elections. For example, in the case if “elections were rigged” 23.9% of respondents think that opposition should urge people to come out to the square and organize mass protests; 61.7% share the opposite opinion (14.4% didn’t know how to answer). 13.4% of respondents expressed readiness to take part in mass protests after the elections in the case if their results were rigged, while 80% of respondents answered negatively to this question (7.4% didn’t know how to answer). And who will urge people to the streets? Even against the background of the decrease of trust to the power, Belarusians’ trust to political opposition is still low: 16% of respondents trust political parties, 60% – don’t; electoral rating (according to an open question) of V. Neklyaev amounts to 3.5%, A. Milinkevich – 2.8%, N. Statkevich – 2.7%, A. Lebedko – 0.8%, S. Kalyakin – 0.7%. Perhaps, the only opposition’s initiative that finds support in society is the “People’s Referendum”: almost half of respondents agree that “it is necessary not to organize mass protests after the elections 2015, but to make the power introduce the changes via the “People’s Referendum” (48% agree with that, 29.3% disagree, 22.7 didn’t know how to answer).


4. In the foreign policy orientations of Belarusians a more suspicious attitude to Russia and a gradual comeback of interest to Europe can be observed:

– The share of “Euro-Belarusians” slightly increased in comparison with September. On a hypothetic referendum on joining the European Union 28.8% of respondents would vote “for” and 49.8% would vote “against” (in September it was 25% vs. 50.3%). On a referendum about integration of Belarus and Russia 23.9% of respondents would vote “for” and 58.4% of respondents would vote “against” (in September it was 23% vs. 54.3%). In the answers to the “either… or”-question in September 47.4% of respondents were for the integration with Russia and 32% for joining the EU, today the ratio is 44.9% vs. 34.2%. Evaluating the prospect of membership in The Collective Security Treaty Organization, 44.4% of respondents answered that it will “provide security for Belarus”, while 42.7% of respondents think that it is “fraught with involvement into military schemes of Russia”. The number of family members working in Russia dropped from 14.4% down to 8.6% over a single quarter, while the same figure for Germany increased from 0.3% up to 2.1%.

– Undoubtedly, the key factor, which affected this change of foreign-policy orientations of Belarusians, is the Ukrainian-Russian crisis: although the sympathy of the majority of people is still on the side of Russia, this share notably decreases. For example, in June 62.2% of respondents evaluated the annexation of Crimea by Russia as “a restitution of Russian lands and reestablishment of historical justice”, in December this share fell down to 56.8%; the share of those who think that it was “an imperialistic usurpation and occupation” increased from 26.9% up to 31.6%. Almost half of respondents support the independence of Novorossiya and consider that “its people have a right for self-determination”; 22.1% of respondents support territorial integrity of Ukraine, while 18.4% consider that “there is no Novorossiya, there is just a Russian aggression against Ukraine”. In September attitude to EU changed to a worse one for 47% of respondents and to a better one for 5.6% of them, in December these numbers are 44.6% vs. 10.1%. In September attitude to the Russia changed to a worse one for 24.3% of respondents and to a better one for 21.9% of them, in December these numbers are 31.8% vs. 20.4%. As before, majority of respondents evaluate “unambiguously/rather positively” A. Lukashenko’s position towards the crisis in Ukraine: in September the number was 59.5%, in December – 58.7%. However, the prospect of doing something more serious than organization of peaceful negotiations is not approved by Belarusians: A. Lukashenko’s statement that “If there is a distrust of Russia to the West, of the West to Russia, of America to Russia and of Russia to America, and a distrust among warring sides, I am ready to use our armed forces to separate the conflicting sides.” was evaluated positively only by 18.7% of respondents, while 64.1% were negative about it.

– At the same time pro-European and, more generally speaking, pro-Western orientations of Belarusians shouldn’t be overestimated. Thus, 64.4% of respondents agreed with the recent statement of Sergey Lavrov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia, that “the true goal of Western restrictions is to alter Russia”, while 23.4% disagreed. 60.9% of respondents agreed with President A. Lukashenko’s statement in connection with the conflict in Ukraine, that “Uncle Sam from over the ocean constantly pushes us to a battle”, 28.7 of respondents disagreed with that. If NATO countries would try to change the politics of Belarus with the help of armed forces, almost 26% of respondents would “resist up in arms” and slightly over 10% of them would “greet these changes” (the figures in September were almost equal). That is why majority of Belarusians continue to support “integration towards the East”: 44.4% of respondents assess positively Belarus’ membership in Eurasian Economic Union, 31.5% of them are indifferent and 18.1% are negative about it (6% of respondents didn’t know how to answer).