On the 8th of May, A. Lukashenko delivered his annual address to the Belarusian nation and the National Assembly. By a long tradition, the Address is usually delivered in April, but this time it was postponed without any explanations. As far as the plot of the Address is concerned, the head of state did not meet the hopes of those who had been expecting an analysis of the reasons of the financial and economic crisis which broke out in the country in 2011. Let us quote a key saying: “Why have we rolled downhill – you know it right well. One should not blame me or the state for this. We wanted to buy up vinegar, matches, spirits, etc. And we put it all under the bed, in the parking garages. There are full stocks there nowadays. We made the national currency collapse. We used to import 20 cars per capita. It is all our own fault. And if the state did mint something thereupon, you know where that money went”.

Strange as it could be, but 18.2% of respondents agreed with such version of the reason of the crisis (among them 22.9% of the power proponents and 6.6% of opponents). Indeed, one could not but recall the anecdotes about the Belarusian tolerance! It is not a myth, it the social truth.

Notably, the above quote is not the first attempt of A. Lukashenko to shuffle off the blame for the crisis on to the people. For example, on the 27th of May 2011, in the course of the meeting dealing with economic issues, the head of state announced the data of a closed social poll. Below you can see the rating of the actors responsible for “the worsening of your life” prepared by clean sociologists: it is our own fault – 25% (!), the global financial crisis – 24%, the government – 20%, the president – 10%.

Though postponed, the Address has not been overlooked: 63% of respondents (by 8.2 points more than in 2010) remarked that they knew about A. Lukashenko’s speech (Table 1). Probably, it is the feeling of unrest generated by the crisis which played its role. And we know that in June 71.1% of Belarusians accepted the fact that the Belarusian economy was in crisis.

Table 1. Dynamics of answering the question: “Do you know that on the 8th of May the president A. Lukashenko delivered his annual Address to the Belarusian Nation and the National Assembly?”, %

Variant of answer





Yes, I do





No, I don’t





The awareness level proved practically independent of the political views of the respondents: 63.6% of the proponents of the authorities and 66.6% of the opponents know about the Address. Naturally, the most informed group proved to be respondents with higher education, 73.4%.

The data of Table 2 show the attitude of Belarusians towards A. Lukashenko’s key statements made within the context of the Address. Only three out of eleven statements brought more agreeing with the head of state as against the disagreeing; an overwhelming majority (55.4% vs. 25.8%) supported the need for establishment of the trial by jury. It is a crucial moment. In the conditions of the state monopoly practically on everything, the enforcement means (secret service, courts, law enforcement bodies) act as an instrument of defence of the authorities from the public and of forcing the public do what the authorities want. Meanwhile, the law is being arbitrary construed by those, who should guarantee the equality of all before the law.

Strictly speaking, no power pretending to monopoly is able to ensure consistent implementation of the legality principle. Besides, one should be aware that a regular exercise of such a monopoly is lethal both for the power itself and for the community. “Evil be to that country, – said S. Vitte, the Chairman of the Committee of Russian Ministers, in 1904, – which has not instilled in the public a feeling of legality and personal property, but, on the contrary, has imposed collective ownership of various kinds, which, then, has been given no definite expression in the law, but is regulated either by a strange convention, or just at discretion. Such a country will sooner or later experience so distressful events that might not have been ever occurred anywhere”.

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: “What is your attitude to the following statements of the president A. Lukashenko made in the context of his Address?”, %

Variant of answer

I agree

I don’t agree


We need to establish trial by jury in Belarus




It is necessary to rise the salary of state employees




The majority of Belarusians are against abolition of death penalty




We should not dread realization of joint projects with China in the territory of Belarus




The state is able to solve the problem of labour outflows




The Parliamentary Elections will be conducted in full compliance with the Constitution




Penetration of big capital assets from Russia into the territory of Belarus does not threaten the interests of ordinary people




The average salary will have made $ 500 by the year end




The fault for failure of dialog with the West rests on the West itself and on the opposition (the Fifth Column)




Consumer prices in 2012 will rise not more than by 20%




The salary decrease in 2011 occurred through the fault of the people who were buying up consumer goods




It is notable that the idea of the establishment of jury trial is supported by over a half (55%) of the authorities proponents. Among the authorities opponents the percentage of the supporters of the establishment of jury trial is, naturally, higher though insignificantly: 61.1%.

Similarly, the necessity to rise the salary of state employees won the support of a vast majority of Belarusians (51%). However, nothing is surprising about it. “State employees” is the most populated professional group in the country. The gender balance in this group is shifted towards “a better half of the mankind”, hence women as against men were more decisive to support that proposal of the head of state (58.6% vs. 41.4%).

It should be emphasized that those three A. Lukashenko’s statements, for which the share of the agreeing exceeded that of the disagreeing, include the statement concerning the support of preserving death penalty by the Belarusian majority. By the level of “bloodiness” women managed to overrun men (45% vs. 36.5%), and the authorities proponents overrun their opponents (44.8% vs. 36.5%).

We have repeatedly emphasized the repressive character of the Belarusian community. The assertion that we all once were wearing a Stalinist overcoat is only partially true. It is not J. Stalin who was the main initiator of repressions; he just satisfied a public demand for annihilation of “the enemies of the people”. Thus, it was not in vain on part of A. Lukashenko at the dawn of his presidency to include the question about death penalty into the referendum. He counted upon the majority support and he won it.

Over the last three months the electoral rating of A. Lukashenko fell from 34.5% to 29.7%, and the trust rating declined from 42.2% to 38.5%. The data of Table 2 help us to understand the reason of the popularity decline of the head of state. Belarusians do not believe in Batjka’s ability to keep the prices down and to raise the average salary again to the level of $ 500, which is rather low by the European standards. In the first case pessimists outnumber optimists 2.3 times, in the second case, 1.7 times! No support was won by the official explanation of the reason of the failure of the dialog with the West. Even among the authorities proponents only every third respondent believes in the participation of the Fifth Column, and among the authorities opponents, only every tenth respondent does.

What helps A. Lukashenko to retain a comparatively high level of the public support today is, primarily, the social inertness rather than his actual achievements. Moreover, an important contribution to the rating protection is “a no-alternative environment” which has been formed for 18 years. However, the feasibility of both the first and the second factor has its limitations.