In the IISEPS opinion poll held in December 2012, just as in the previous one, respondents were asked to express their attitude to the program of the European Union for Belarus (Pict. 1). A comparison of the polls’ results shows that slight, but important dynamics are present.

If a quarter ago every fifth respondent simply knew about the existence of such a program of the EU, then in December 2012 – already each fourth respondent did.

The share of the program’s supporters has grown even more appreciably, including the a priori ones – the share of those who said that Belarus needed such a program was almost two times larger than of those who answering the question of Pict. 1 said he/she was aware of its existence (Pict. 2).

However, there is also evidence of a tangible growth in the number of the program’s opponents. Perhaps, Belarusian authorities having familiarized themselves with the opinion poll’s results, or otherwise having made sure that the population treated the program of the EU positively, saw to its discredit. Particularly, appearance of a number of information materials in the state mass media “denouncing” this very program testifies to the fact. It did produce a certain effect, though, as we can see, a slight one.

On the other hand, one should not overestimate the importance of such unanimous support of the “Dialogue about Modernization”. As the answers to the question of Pict. 3 reveal, respondents look at the possibilities of European assistance to Belarus in very different ways.

The data of Pict. 3 show that recognition of the truth of the formula “Don’t give the poor man fish, give him a fishing rod” is not alien to Belarusians: the need for technologies is recognized to a greater extent than the need for credits. However, technologies, to all appearances, are recognized in a strictly technological sense (please, excuse the tautology) – as something industrial, manufacturing. The need for social, organizational technologies, for the European reform experience is recognized to a far lesser degree.

Thus, the approach of society in a sense largely coincides with the approach of the Belarusian authorities: give us your high-tech, it would not be a miss for you to offer us some money too, but do not teach us how to live, we know it better than you do.

A negative attitude of the official Minsk to the program is conditioned, of course, in the first place by the fact that no talk with the Belarusian authorities is planned within the framework of the “Dialogue about Modernization”. However, the data of Pict. 3 reveal that not only the Belarusian authorities, but Belarusian society too, have a somewhat different idea about the subject matter of such a talk, in case it began, than the European partners (Pict. 4-6).

The connection is quite natural – there are appreciably more of those who heard about the program among “Euro-Belarusians” than in the groups with other geopolitical preferences. Also among “Euro-Belarusians” there are more of those who believe that the country needs such a program. What stands out is that in this question “Belo-Russians” prove to be more pro-European than those who abstain from a geopolitical choice – among the latter there is the largest number of those who have also abstained from answering the question about the need and needlessness of the “Dialogue about Modernization”.

Apparently the reason for it is that the group of respondents abstaining from a geopolitical choice includes for the most part not the people with a third articulated political position (“you would be yourself, if you were neither Eastern, nor Western”), but simply the people who are far from the lofty political matters, the ones who do not have a distinct political position. High politics are far from them.

Finally, the data of Pict. 6 reveals that the hierarchy of the preferred forms of collaboration with the EU is similar in all the groups of a geopolitical choice, but, of course, at different levels: sharing of technologies ranks first in all the groups, and assistance in reform implementing occupies the last place.