In his interview to the newspaper “Respublika” minister of economy N. Snopkov mentioned the inflation decrease as the main achievement of the government in 2012: “Last year we had hyperinflation. This year it will not exceed the forecasted limits – it will make up about 21-22%; it has decreased 5 times. This is success of our economic policy and one of the best rates in the world practice of the government antiinflationary measures”.

The fivefold inflation decrease and 18.1% income growth (between January and November) could not but tell upon the population’s assessments of the previous year’s importance for the country (Pict. 1). The number of those who said that last year had been more difficult than the previous one, declined from 74.7% to 41%. It is the level of 2008; however, at that time respondents were comparing two quite successful for the country years. Such formal match in assessments shows the conditional character of comparison. A comparison is made in the mode of “here and now” which excludes adequacy of assessments if the events are spread far away from one another in terms of time.

In the split Belarusian society assessments of the past year traditionally prove to be politicized (Pict. 2). Opponents of the authorities are more inclined to reflection already on the strength of their socio-demographic characteristics (their level of education is on average considerably higher) which limits the influence of the state propaganda.

Last year proved to be more successful not only for the country in general, but also for Belarusians (Pict. 3). Just as in the previous case the share of positive assessments among supporters of the authorities turned out to be noticeably higher than among their opponents – 49.5% vs. 27.2%. As for the negative assessments, the dependency was naturally reverse – 31.9% vs. 51.6%.

In spite of a quite even growth in the population’s income during 2012, no adequate increase in the social indices was registered in the second half of the year. The financial standing index (FSI) did not virtually change in December relative to September (Pict. 4). At that an insignificant polarization of the assessments took place: the positive as well as negative assessments grew up simultaneously. Let us mention that FSI of the authorities’ supporters proved to be appreciably higher than by their opponents (–3.5 vs. –28.5).

* Financial standing index (the difference of positive and negative answers)

Polarization of assessments of the change in socio-economic situation in Belarus within the next few years was also registered in December (Pict. 5). For the four quarterly opinion polls the expectation index has increased only by 3.8 points. If one compares it with the historic minimum of June 2011 (–43.6) then progress is obvious. Nevertheless, it is impossible to talk about restoration of Belarusians’ faith in the future. In December the number of optimists did not even reach a quarter. However, it proved to be almost three times less among supporters of the authorities than among their opponents – 29.1% vs. 10.9%.

* Expectation index

Thus, numerous statements of the head of state concerning the optimism with which Belarusians “are looking into the future” are not bolstered with the results of public opinion polls.

No appreciable growth in the policy correctness index was noticed in December either (Pict. 6). Only every third Belarusian considers that the state of things in the country is developing in the right direction (43.1% – among supporters of the authorities and 15% – among their opponents).

* Policy correctness index

According to the official doctrine, the socio-economic policy pursued in the country protects “interests of the common man”. However, even at the height of the head of state electoral support in December 2010 just a little bit more than half of Belarusians believed in the correctness of the official policy. At the peak of the crisis (September 2011), though, the number shrank to 17%. Such a low level of real support did not serve for the executive power as a reason for reconsideration of the policy conducted in the country. It did not urge legislators to advance the appropriate initiatives either.

Under the conditions of the economic crisis absence of feedback between the authorities and society is fraught with unpredictable consequences. A. Lukashenko’s faith that “the limit of color revolutions in Belarus has been exhausted” is based on the faulty assessments of processes going on in economy and society. Revolutions do not happen at the pleasure of representatives of the “fifth column”. They spring up spontaneously as a response of the general public to the policy of the authorities which have lost the ability to adequately appraise what is going on.