As was expected, the economic situation in the country after the presidential elections again took a visible turn for the worse. This can be persuasively confirmed by the figures in Table 1. A certain improvement that had been mentioned by our respondents throughout 2001 was displaced again with more pessimistic views. This shows again that we were right assuming that the economic improvement was associated with the realization of A. Lukashenko’s electoral strategy, the core idea of which was forcing enterprises to push up their social expenses by the voting day and to build a mirage of economic progress for the electorate. And naturally, the economy turned to its habitual state after the elections, which was reflected in the results of the opinion poll.
Table 1. Change of economic situation in Belarus over the last year*, %

The same can be seen in Table 2 – as one may see, six months after the elections people grew much less optimistic.

Table 2. Dynamics of distribution of answers to the question: “How do you assess your material status?”, %

As Table 3 shows, today a huge part of Belarusians are worried about wage and pension delays. Earlier, the authorities regarded payments in due time as their merit and scared the population with the pitiful situation in Russia, and now, 83.7% of Belarusians have already faced this problem during the last 12 months, and 55.2% of them repeatedly.

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question: “How many times over the last 12 months have you faced backpays?”, %

The number of citizens living below the poverty line increased again after the elections – today eight out of ten our nationals can hardly survive under the “socially oriented market economy” that is being built under the direction of A. Lukashenko. Maybe that is why 55.5% of voters guess that the country is going in the wrong direction (See Table 4). Only 38.1% of the interrogated gave this answer right after the voting. Today, however, only every fifth is of another point of view.

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question: “Do you think everything is developing in the right or wrong direction in Belarus?”, %

More than one half (55.3%) of voters are convinced that A. Lukashenko hasn’t kept his pre-electoral promises to liberalize the Belarusian economy. Only 16% of adults hold the opposite opinion. Almost two thirds (64.3%) are sure that our people live worse than they do in the Western countries because of poor state management. According to the majority of respondents, other reasons of bad living are insignificant.
It can be seen from Table 5 that the number of planned economy adherents is reducing, and more than 40% would prefer the liberal alternative of market economy. This tendency is systematic and has a long history.

Table 5. Choice of economy type, %

The comparative analysis of Belarusians’ economy preferences shows that the number of those who consider private property to be more efficient has grown by more than 10% (today they are 54%) during A. Lukashenko’s government, and of those who prefer to work at private enterprises – by almost 20% (they are 47.5%, while only 41.2% would like to work at a state enterprise).
And people wish to run their own private businesses, too. During the last three years the number of entrepreneurs or entrepreneurs-to-be has increased in 22.2%. Almost identical (22.9%) is the decrease in the number of people who hadn’t performed such activities and were not going to do so in the future.
Thus, the results of the opinion poll let us certify that the population’s economic views are dynamically changing for adhering to normal market relations. Consequently, the authorities’ attempts to put obstacles before the normal development of market economy result in directly the opposite: the harder private initiatives are suppressed and the more active the state’s interruption is, the more people prefer normal market relations.
Recently the auctioning of state property has become a topical problem. This is caused by A. Lukashenko’s statements and the expiring of “Imushchestvo” vouchers that give the right to buy stocks of Belarusian enterprises. As the questioning indicates, most voters (37.3%) would rather see the privatization with the help of the vouchers. 15.5% are convinced that the priority should be given to enterprises’ staff. This means that more than one half of our citizens (52.8%) choose the most inefficient way of privatization. Meanwhile every seventh of the questioned thinks that we don’t need privatization at all. It should be mentioned that almost 45% of the respondents would like to use their share to invest in productive enterprises, while 32.7% would use it for consuming. 22.7% more still do not know how to use their certificates and thus they would hand them over to their children. Up to now, our society is not unanimous about foreign investments. Even if they come from our “Slavonic brothers”, from Russia, which is agreed upon by only 43.9% of the respondents. But 35% do not want it at all. This indicates that our people do not have objective information about privatization and are guided by ideological stamps the authorities cram them with.