Last year’s presidential elections affected a substantial part of the society of the republic in an ill manner. There was a long pause during which realization of the events as well as creation of a new strategy and giving new answers to old questions were expected to take place.

However, as the latest events show, after the winter time-out the democrats started repeating what they can do and had been doing before. We again witnessed another “hot spring” that showed us the dissociation of the opposition, forgotten during the presidential campaign, and the society’s indifference to its activities. And this is no wonder – why should the society react to the democratic leaders’ approaches in a different way when they do not change?
Even the authorities themselves confess that the country is experiencing a serious economic crisis that has affected various strata of the society. Thus, the vast majority of Belarusians apprehend mostly the things that can menace their existence – social and economic troubles (inaccessibility of food and vital consumer goods, impossibility to pay for communal services) and ecological disasters (the questionnaire took place right on the eve of another Chernobyl anniversary) (See Table 1).

Table 1. Distribution of answers to the question: “What are you afraid of in the near future?”, % (more than one answer is possible)

Political changes are at the background. Maybe because of the fact that political needs are acute, political problems are treated much more calmly – less than one third apprehend the foundation of a dictatorship, less than 20% are afraid of civil war and 12.2% – of internal conflicts.
The same is true for external dangers – about 70% of voters are afraid of war with a foreign state and only 20% fear international isolation. While the problem of “Motherland for sail”, i.e. the privatization of the biggest companies, is being actively discussed in the media and among the elite common citizens treat it more indifferently – less than 10% of the questioned apprehend that our property could be bought in bulk by Russian and Western tycoons.
Previous polls showed that about 70% of citizens are in some way afraid to express their political opinions and that this figure is stable. However, when the question was transformed and addressed to every concrete respondent, the result was different. One fifth never express their political opinions openly (it is interesting that the most cautious were Lukashenko’s adherents who seem not to have anything to fear), almost one third never conceal their opinions (the most brave are president’s adherents, too) and about 40% can be characterized by a varying degree of moderation in expressing their political views (See Table 2). In other words every individual thinks that the nation on the whole is less brave than it actually is.

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: “Are you personally ready to express your political views?”, %

The number of those who think that it is possible to criticize authorities in public is much smaller than of their opponents. As it often happens, the response of the sides turned out to be diametrically opposite (See Table 3).

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question: “Do you think it is acceptable that people who disagree with authorities’ actions publicly criticize the president and the government?”, %

We have already found out that the Belarusians are most afraid of material trouble. Are these fears well grounded or are they, so to say, in order “to be on the safe side”? It appears that there are reasons – almost 80% of the respondents stated that they face wage and pension arrears with various regularity while more than 17% of the questioned (22.3% among president’s adherents) face this problem almost every month. And only 6% had never seen wage or pension delays!
Timely pensions and wages for budget sphere employees have for a long time been the authorities’ trump card for a long time. They constantly pointed out that salaries and pensions were not huge but were always on time, unlike in Russia and Ukraine. Now we have grounds to say that the authorities do not have this trump anymore. A. Lukashenko himself mentioned in his annual appeal to the government that that the state’s fulfillment of its commitments roused censure. Being aware of the special importance of this problem he bullied the government with all kinds of sanctions. Considering the fact that present Russian officials did not only declare timely and full wages as their priority but are also constantly raising salary figures, the Belarusian economic model looks less appealing. Another powerful argument for its critics on the eve of the elections.

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question: “What is your attitude towards mass actions of the opposition?”, %

* This variant of answer was omitted in the given poll
** In the given poll the following answer was used offered –”Find it difficult to answer”

Table 5. Distribution of answers to the question: “What is your attitude towards participating in public actions to express one’s opinion?”, %

Can social tension caused by wage and pension arrears make people take to the streets and join protest actions? First we should say that the voters’ attitude to such events is still reserved (See Table 4). Despite all the efforts of Freedom Day organizers one half of the people still know nothing of it. One fifth remained indifferent to it in spite of the rude actions of law enforcers, and the numbers of non-indifferent people (with positive or negative attitude) are small and almost equal. Without too much sympathy for street democracy adherents, Belarusians themselves are not very eager to express their opinions actively. Without mentioning the most extreme forms we should say that even meetings and marches would be joined by only 17% of the respondent (See Table 5). Let us bear in mind that 17.6% do not get their salaries in time almost every month and that readiness does not always mean participation. We can only repeat that any kind of public disagreement is regarded by the silent majority as radicalism and Belarusians have never been very fond of radicals.