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POLITICAL VIEWS OF BELARUSIAN ELITE IN THE MIRROR OF SOCIOLOGY

1. Confidence of Belarusians in state and civil institutes is decreasing

As the results of the analysis show confidence of public leaders in state and public institutes differs greatly from that of the population (see Table 1). If the leaders are more prone to trust independent research centers, non-state mass media and OSCE AMG, the population trust first of all to church, army and independent research centers, the trust index of which is much higher than that of the president, thereby deforming the traditional Slavic triad “God, Tzar and Military Chief.” The leaders trust courts, police and local authorities least of all, whereas the population – political parties, police and local authorities.

Table 1. Index of trust in state and public institutions*

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non government structures
government agencies
Independent analytical centers
+0.556
+0.690
+0.400
+0.078
Non-government media
+0.377
+0.571
+0.160
–0.144
OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus
+0.245
+0.448
0
–0.062
Groups of businessmen
+0.167
+0.345
–0.040
–0.118
Free and independent trade unions
+0.074
+0.310
–0.200
–0.087
Political parties
–0.019
+0.214
–0.292
–0.402
Church
–0.148
–0.517
+0.280
+0.296
Army
–0.151
–0.607
+0.360
+0.167
Trade unions, which are members to the Federation of trade unions
–0.167
–0.103
–0.240
–0.143
XIII Parliament
–0.240
–0.034
–0.480
–0.289
Constitutional court
–0.333
–0.690
+0.080
–**
Government
–0.333
–0.825
+0.240
–0.250
State research centers
–0.396
–0.793
+0.083
–0.037
President
–0.630
–0.897
–0.320
–0.017
KGB
–0.642
–0.862
–0.375
–0.181
Government media
–0.698
–0.893
–0.480
+0.010
Central electoral committee
–0.704
–0.828
–0.560
–0.236
National assembly
–0.741
–1.000
–0.520
–0.270
Local authorities
–0.759
–0.828
–0.680
–0.365
Police
–0.815
–0.931
–0.680
–0.298
Courts
–0.815
–0.897
–0.720
–0.227

* The index of trust may be in the range of +1 to –1 and is a correlation between the sum of positive answers “I trust in them” and negative answers “I do not trust in them”, and the number of all respondents, who answered the question
**This answer was not included in the questionnaire

Unlike the population, the leaders express trust (or distrust) more definitely to this or that institution, which is proved by higher absolute indexes and fewer those who found it difficult to answer.
As compared to the September survey, the leader’s trust index to most institutions has considerably decreased. To a greater degree it dropped to the XIII Supreme Council, non-state mass media, OSCE AMG, courts and political parties. On the contrary, church, labor unions of the Federation of Labor Unions, the government, the president and the National Assembly have gained a little in these terms. As a whole, only one third of institutions enjoyed an increase in their trust index.
As for the whole population, in October its trust almost to all state and public institutes went down. Only three of them saw an increase (police, courts and the XIII Supreme Council). Local authorities, the government, the Central Election Committee and the Army suffered the most considerable losses.
It is very interesting that the trust index dropped first of all to the most significant state institutions (president, government, national assembly, CEC, army), that may prove the country’s system crisis deepening.
If representatives of non-state organizations are most confident in independent research centers, non-state mass media, OSCE AMG, entrepreneurs’ unity, free and independent labor unions, and least – in national assembly, police, president, courts and state-run mass media, – representatives of state structures are most confident in independent research centers, army, church and government, and least – in courts, police, local authorities, CEC and national assembly.
As a whole, the leaders are most confident in civil society structures, rather than in any state institutions. Only army, government, state-run research centers and Constitutional Court enjoy more trust among the leaders of state structures.
As compared with September, the trust index among the leaders of state structures dropped almost to all institutions. Especially to courts, and structures close to the election process (political parties, XIII Supreme Council, OSCE AMG). At the same time, church, government and army enjoyed an increase in this respect. This dynamics seems to be connected to the fact that the autumn election campaign did not come up to the state structures leaders’ expectations of some changes in the life of Belarus’s society. It could be asserted that these were quite serious expectations, because the index dropped considerably.
The same circumstance, obviously, affected the dynamics of trust to state and public institutions among the leaders of non-state structures. Their trust to non-state mass media, army, XIII Supreme Council and government dropped most of all. Also, OSCE AMG, courts, police, national assembly and others structures lost some of their trust. At the same time, labor unions of the Federation of Labor Unions, as well as entrepreneurs’ unity and political parties enjoy an increased trust.
In general, Belarus’s population is notable for a rather distrustful attitude towards any institutions, regardless of the fact whether they are independent or state-run.

2. Public leaders and the autumn parliamentary election

The results of the survey show that only 33.3% of the leaders took part in the October 15 voting. Among the population the figure was as high as 58.8%. Comparison of these figures to intentions of taking part in the election, which were voiced during the previous survey, show that they almost coincide: 31.6% of the leaders were going to participate, 59% – among the population. It could be stated that those leaders, who failed to make up their mind until the election day, joined the boycott supporters. Voters who had made their decision dependent on the political situation during the run-up period or avoided a definite answer acted in the same manner. Such an outcome should have been expected, since the undemocratic nature of the autumn election was clear with the naked eye, and it was too naive to expect some progressive changes from the authorities.
The coincidence of the number of those who did vote with the number of those who intended to do it proves that they made the decision to participate well in advance. Actually, many of them felt no necessity to make a decision: a considerable part of supporters’ of the election are A. Lukashenko’s adherers, who actively perceive and follow his instructions. A similar example has already been registered in Belarus’s history, when A. Lukashenko called upon his electorate to boycott the 1995 parliamentary election. As a result it was frustrated in one third of all the constituencies.
This assumption is indirectly proved by the survey results, which show that the overwhelming majority of the leaders of state structures who participated in the election made up their mind well in advance. The population as a whole acted in a similar way. As for a preferred candidate, it is quite natural that the majority of the population made the choice on the eve of the election day or even at the polling station: the electorate was more interested in the candidate’s political adherence (which is easy to define at the polling station), than in his/her personality (much more time is needed to study it). Members of election committees are always eager to clear up the first option.
The leaders’ attitude to the parliamentary election is mainly defined by the sector they represent. So, the ratio of those leaders who took part in the election is fourfold higher in state than in non-state structures, and is almost equal to the ratio of the population who voted. It is also worth mentioning that the number of the state structures’ leaders who took part in the election is higher than the number of those who intended to do it (56% and 52.2% respectively), and is lower than of non-state structures (17.6% and 13.8% respectively).
An analysis of the leaders’ answers showed that the failure of authorities to fulfil the demands of the opposition and the OSCE regarding the election process affected their opinion more (38.9%) than the opinion of the population: only 9.5% stated about it. Meanwhile, if the opinion of the leaders almost halved in this respect, half of the population said it did not influenced their decision, and another half evaded a definite answer.
It is noteworthy that the leaders of non-state structures turned out more sensitive to the failure than their colleagues from state structures.
The decision of the opposition to boycott the parliamentary election affected the decision to participate even less. 31.5% of the leaders answered in the affirmative to this question, whereas among the population the figure leveled at 7.5%. In state structures the number of those who answered in the affirmative was 3.5fold higher than of those who replied in the negative, in non-state structures – they halved, what obviously reflects political preferences.
There were two main reasons why the leaders ignored the election (see Table 2). First – “it wasn’t a free and fair election,” second – “the present parliament decides nothing.” Only 21.4% of the leaders referred to their support of the boycott as the main reason.

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: “If you are one of the people who did not to vote in the 15 October elections, why did you choose not to?”, %

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non government structures
government agencies
The elections were not free and fair
32.1
31.9
33.3
12.0
This parliament has no real power
30.4
31.9
25.1
18.3
I supported the boycott launched by opposition parties
21.4
22.7
16.7
6.4
Deputies are not going to act in my interests
7.1
6.8
8.3
21.1
I do not trust any of the candidates
5.4
4.5
8.3
21.1
I did not have a chance to go and cast my vote, because I was too busy
3.6
2.2
8.3
21.1
Total
100.0
100.0
100.0
100.0

* The results were equalized to make 100%, because respondents could give more than one answer

Absolutely different reasons dominated the answers of the population. Especially those, that we considered insignificant by the leaders: “deputies are unlikely to stand up for my interests,” “I trust none of the candidates” and “I could not get to the polling station, was busy at home.” Insignificance of powers of the newly elected parliament was named by 18.3% of the respondents, which is close to that among the leaders. The boycott was placed at the bottom. Realistically, the difference of opinions on this issue among leaders of state and non-state structures was very small.
The last month survey showed that the leaders as compared with the population as a whole understand importance of political parties in public life better and have more information about them and their activities. At the same time the decision of the main opposition parties to boycott the election sharply reduced the participation of their party electorate, and as a result, the respondents gave few answers when asked “candidates of which parties they supported at the election”. The preferences of the leaders and the population towards the shortlisted parties were basically the same.
A comparison of parties’ electorate preferences towards the shortlisted parties with the results of the September survey showed that their popularity ratings among the population went up considerably (of all the parties). That means that the opponents of the boycott from the “boycotting” parties’ electorate had to choose from candidates nominated by congenial parties. The leaders could change their preferences to a smaller degree. Therefore, only the BSDP “Narodnya Hramada”, the PCB and the united party Yabloko enjoyed a relative increase in popularity ratings. The Labor Party faced a downward tendency.
Table 3 shows that the majority of the leaders who took part in the election chose the candidate who promised to strive for changing the present course. State structures’ leaders equally supported opponents and proponents of the present course. Among the whole population more than half of those who did vote evaded a direct answer to this question. The majority of those who answered voted in favor of the candidate who supported the present authorities. In September 33.6% of the respondents promised their support to pro-Lukashenko’s candidates. Perhaps, they kept the promise, but preferred to keep silent!

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question: “If you are one of those, who voted on October 15, whom did you support?”, %

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non government structures
government agencies
I voted for a candidate, who said he was going to fight for changes to the current political course
20.4
17.2
24.0
8.4
I voted for a candidate, who supports the regime
11.1
24.0
13.1
I voted against everybody
9.3
6.9
12.0
34.1
I am not going to discuss this
1.9
3.4
8.8
NA
57.3
72.5
40.0
35.6
The survey showed that the majority of the leaders and the population are not satisfied with the information support of the election. Leaflets and posters were named as the main sources of information. Then the leaders mentioned discussions with candidates, and newspapers were cited third. For the population, newspapers are the second information source, which gives valuable material for consideration. The results also showed that the importance of the notorious Belarusian Television in terms of election campaign propaganda was somehow exaggerated.
As it turned out, distribution of leaflets – was the main form of election campaigning. Half of the respondents (both the leaders and the population) stressed that. The second significant form was – meetings with candidates and voters. As for other forms of election campaigning, their role was of small importance. That fact that every fifth voters asserts that saw no forms of campaigning makes us to think it over. Perhaps, it resulted from the boycott announced by the main parties.
The overwhelming majority of the leaders (72.2%) are confident that candidates did not enjoy equal conditions during the election campaign. The structures they represent are of no importance here. Though the figures of the national survey differ a lot: more than half (53.7%) of the population evaded this question, the rest halved. That means that the majority of our co-citizens do not bother themselves with it, which proves low significance of each particular candidate’s personality.
The respondents’ answers show that sensitive information about political rivals is not widely used in our country. Every sixth leader knows about such tactics, among the population – every seventeenth. The majority failed to give a clear answer.
More than half of the leaders (53.7%), first of all from state structures (they know what they are talking about!) said that the authorities supported some candidates in their constituencies. The others (some 42.6%), perhaps, preferred to keep silent on such a “sensitive” question. We believe that if there were no support from authorities, they would have answered straightforward.
Among the population, two thirds of those who gave an answer (27%) are confident that the authorities did render assistance.
About half of the leaders polled (48.1%) noticed the presence of observers at their polling stations. If we compare this figure to the number of those who participated in the election (33.3%), the difference shall be attributed to the observers. It seems that answers of the population are more trustworthy in this respect: only 37% of the voters notices the presence of observers, though the figure of those who participated in the election is much higher – 58.8%.
Therefore, the analysis of the leaders’ poll shows that representative of the elite are disappointed with the autumn election campaign, because they are more prone to changes in society, than the population is. Unlike the majority of the electorate, they are more loyal to the most important aims of political opposition. Perhaps, it stems from a better understanding of the civil progress development (as compared to the electorate as a whole); reasoning, rather than emotions guide them. Among the leaders, those of non-state structures sound more progressive. The leaders of state structures are more conservative and cautious, but they are not satisfied with today’s Belarusian situation and under certain circumstances the opponents of the present regime could rely on their support.

3. Public leaders and presidential election

The results of the leaders’ survey regarding the forthcoming presidential election are rather interesting. So, answering the open question “who would you vote for presidency tomorrow”, the leaders mentioned M. Chigir in the first place, whereas Lukasheno tops the list with the population. The latter was second in the leaders’ list, mainly due to positive answers of representatives of state structures (see Table 4). As for the population, M. Chigir and S. Shushkevich were places second and third, respectively, though lagging far behind A. Lukashenko.

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question: “If the presidential elections were tomorrow, for whom would you vote?”, %

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non government structures
government agencies
M. Chigir
14.9
17.2
12.0
6.9
A. Lukashenko
11.1
3.4
20.0
33.2
V. Leonov
9.3
3.4
16.0
A. Lebedko
5.6
6.9
4.0
0.7
Yu. Khodyko
5.6
3.4
8.0
0.4
Z. Paznyak
3.7
3.4
4.0
1.9
S. Gaidukevich
3.7
3.4
4.0
1.5
S. Shushkevich
3.0
As compared with the last month survey, M. Chigir’s popularity ratings with the leaders dropped almost by one third (down from 21.1%). With the population – it rocketed threefold (up from 2.4%), whereas A. Lukashenko lost 3.1 points.
It is worth mentioning that in the October survey V. Leonov was placed third among the leaders. He appeared on the presidential rating list for the first time. It is significant that his candidacy was most actively supported in state structures, where V. Leonov beat even M. Chigir. However, so far V. Leonov has not been on the population’s list.
Overall popularity ratings of other politicians do not exceed the margin of error.
When offered to choose from shortlisted presidential contenders, excluding A. Lukashenko, respondents show a different tendency. Those who wanted to put it in were given a chance.
As we could see from Table 5, the leaders placed V. Leonov at the top, then goes M. Chigir, A. Lukashenko is the third. M. Chigir tops the list with the leaders of non-state structures (A. Lebedko is placed second). The leaders of state structures put V. Leonov first and A. Lukashenko second.

Table 5. Distribution of answers to the question: “For which real Belarusian celebrity politician would you vote in the presidential elections?”, %

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non-government structures
government agencies
V. Leonov
16.7
6.9
28.0
M. Chigir
13.0
17.4
8.0
8.9
A. Lukashenko
9.3
3.4
16.0
16.7
A. Lebedko
5.6
10.5
3.8
Yu. Khodyko
5.6
6.9
4.0
0.7
V. Yermoshin
3.7
3.4
4.0
6.2
Z. Paznyak
3.7
3.4
4.0
2.0
S. Gaidukevich
3.7
3.4
4.0
2.4
L. Yermoshina
1.9
4.0
2.9
S. Shushkevich
1.9
4.0
7.2
V. Dolgolev
4.2
As compared with the September survey, M. Chigir’s rating with the leaders dropped more than twofold (from 26.3% down to 13%), and even more in state structures (from 21.7% to a mere 8%). That means that the Belarusian elite, especially if connected to state structures, is actively seeking for a new candidate for the nation’s leader, whom it would be ready to support at the presidential election.
The indirect question rating with the population looks different. A. Lukashenko tops the list with 16.7%, which is higher than in September (14.8%). The figure, however, is twofold lower than in the open rating (see Table 5). Other politicians enjoy higher popularity ratings if the question is put indirectly. So, M. Chigir’s ratings go up from 6.9% to 8.9%, S. Shushkevich’s – from 3% to 7.2%, A. Lebedko’s – from 0.7% to 3.8%, etc.
It is also worth mentioning that when compared with September the closed ratings went up not only for Lukashenko, but also for the most of shortlisted politicians (it is especially revealing for A. Lebedko – from 1.5% to 3.8%).
Table 6 shows that the majority of the leaders would like to see a single opposition candidate, or an independent candidate (together 72.2%, or 2.1 points higher than in September) as the president. The leaders of non-state structures were even more positive in this respect – 82.9% (79.4% in September). Only 16% of the leaders of state structures would like to see Lukashenko in this office (21.7% in September), whereas 60% would have supported an independent or opposition candidate (56.5% in September). It must be noted that representatives of the elite give more points in favor of an independent candidate, while the ratings of a single opposition candidate is decreasing. We believe that if the present tendency persists, the opposition shall work out another strategic scenario of the future election campaign for democratic forces.

Table 6. Distribution of answers to the question: “Whom would you like to be president of Belarus?”, %

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non-government structures
government agencies
Single candidate of the democratic opposition
37.0
51.7
20.0
8.5
Independent candidate
35.2
31.2
40.0
22.3
A. Lukashenko
9.3
3.4
16.0
32.0
Other candidate
3.7
3.4
4.0
1.7
Candidate, who represents a different political party
1.9
4.0
2.2
I do not know/NA
12.9
10.3
16.0
33.3
The analysis of the people’s answers to this question shows that Lukashenko is not the only political figure at the political field of the country. If 32% of the respondents would like to see him as the future president, 30.8% support an independent or a single opposition candidate. The difference, as we could see, is within the margin of error. We shall remind that in September the popularity ratings leveled at 37.4% and 39.8%, respectively. Both lost some votes because they went to the “swamp,” i.e. to those declined to answer, rather than to another figure.
Pay attention to the fact that in the forthcoming struggle for presidency real person A. Lukashenko does not beat an image of a possible rival, not speaking about further prospects for a certain politician.
Table 7 presents the respondents’ opinion about how the majority of the population would vote at the forthcoming presidential election. As we could note, the respondents of the national survey are confident that Lukashenko is likely to gain 41.3% of votes, though Table 6 shows different statistics. A month ago the population cast 61.6% of votes in favor of Lukashenko. Almost a 30% slump within a month!

Table 7. Distribution of answers to the question: “For whom will the majority of Belarusians vote during the forthcoming presidential elections, in your opinion?”, %

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non-government structures
government agencies
Independent candidate
38.9
41.4
36.0
13.6
A. Lukashenko
35.2
27.6
44.0
41.3
Single candidate of the democratic opposition
18.5
27.6
8.0
5.2
Candidate who represents a different political party
1.0
Other answer/I do not know
7.4
3.4
12.0
38.9
An independent candidate, if supported by the united opposition, as the population put it, could have relied on 18.8% of votes (20% in September).
The leaders, however, have no doubts that an independent candidate would get a downslide (38.9), whereas A. Lukashenko might get only 35.2%. So, the leaders predict that the opposition and independent parties could fish for 57.4% of votes together (53.2% in September). The non-state structures’ leaders are much more optimistic in this respect: they say that the figure could be as high as 69%, while A. Lukashenko – only 27.6%. The leaders of state structures sound less optimistic: they give A. Lukashenko and his rival 44% of votes each. As compared with the last month, the leaders’ prognosis became more optimistic.
Table 8 is quite interesting. As we could see, the leaders are quite dissatisfied with Lukashenko and are ready to replace him with another politician. But not with any politician. So, trying to gain their votes in the hypothetical second round A. Lukashenko is losing to M. Chigir, V. Leonov, A. Lebedko, N. Statkevich, R. Garetsky and even S. Kalyakin, but he is beating M. Myasnikovich and S. Gaidukevich.

Table 8. Distribution of answers to the question: “If you were to choose the president of Belarus today from these two politicians only, whom would you choose?”, %

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non-government structures
government agencies
S. Gaidukevich – A. Lukashenko
For S. Gaidukevich
11.1
13.9
8.0
4.9
For A. Lukashenko
13.0
3.4
24.0
36.2
Against both
63.0
69.0
56.0
22.1
Would not come to the polling station
11.1
10.3
12.0
7.6
NA
1.9
3.4
29.2
R. Garetsky – A. Lukashenko
For R. Garetsky
29.6
38.0
20.0
2.6
For A. Lukashenko
11.1
3.4
20.0
35.6
Against both
40.7
44.9
36.0
21.9
Would not come to the polling station
9.3
10.3
8.0
7.1
NA
9.3
3.4
16.0
32.8
S. Kalyakin – A. Lukashenko
For S. Kalyakin
13.0
10.3
16.0
2.8
For A. Lukashenko
11.1
3.4
20.0
35.4
Against both
55.6
62.1
48.0
23.0
Would not come to the polling station
16.6
20.8
12.0
7.0
NA
3.7
3.4
4.0
31.8
A. Lebedko – A. Lukashenko
For A. Lebedko
44.4
55.3
32.0
6.0
For A. Lukashenko
11.1
3.4
20.0
35.6
Against both
31.5
31.0
32.0
20.2
Would not come to the polling station
3.7
6.9
6.5
NA
9.3
3.4
16.0
31.7
V. Leonov – A. Lukashenko*
For V. Leonov
55.6
55.2
56.0
For A. Lukashenko
9.3
20.0
Against both
18.4
20.7
16.0
Would not come to the polling station
7.4
13.8
NA
9.3
10.3
8.0
M. Myasnikovich – A. Lukashenko*
For M. Myasnikovich
7.4
13.8
For A. Lukashenko
9.3
20.0
Against both
62.9
62.1
64.0
Would not come to the polling station
13.0
13.8
12.0
NA
7.4
10.3
4.0
N. Statkevich – A. Lukashenko
For N. Statkevich
27.8
34.5
20.0
6.7
For A. Lukashenko
9.3
20.0
35.6
Against both
42.5
41.4
44.0
19.8
Would not come to the polling station
9.3
13.8
4.0
6.7
NA
11.1
10.3
12.0
31.2
M. Chigir – A. Lukashenko
For M. Chigir
57.4
69.0
44.0
13.5
For A. Lukashenko
9.3
20.0
35.0
Against both
14.8
10.3
20.0
16.2
Would not come to the polling station
3.7
6.9
5.7
NA
14.8
13.8
16.0
29.6

* This variant was not offered to respondents during the nation-wide poll

However the leaders, both from state and non-state structures, have different visions regarding the shortlisted candidates. So, if with state structures Lukashenko defeats M. Myasnikovich, S. Kalyakin and S. Gaidukevich, and equals R. Garetsky and N. Statkevich, with non-state structures he looses to all of them, at a different rate of course, but that does not really matter.
At the same time, a very high percentage of the leaders who would have voted against both candidates seems confusing. The pairs Lukashenko-Gaidukevich and Lukashenko-Myashnikovich topped the list, Lukashenko-Chigir and Lukashenko-Leonov – have a smaller number of opponents.
The population has different preferences. They believe that none of the contenders beats A. Lukashenko’s (candidatures of V. Leonov and M. Myasnikovich were omitted in the national survey). The most “successful” was M. Chigir. Some 16.2% to 23% would have voted against both candidates in any pairs. Though about 30% of the respondents declined to answer in each case.
According to the population, a single opposition candidate could get an average of 14%. The leaders are much more “generous” – they predict that an opposition candidate could rely on average on 30% of votes (25% with the leaders of state structures, 35% with the leaders of non-state structures).
Finally we could assert that the majority of the leaders are actively concerned over seeking a new national leader. But they would prefer an independent candidate, rather than a single opposition candidate.

4. Leaders and mass media

Table 9 shows that unlike the population as a whole the leaders feel confidence first of all in Belarusian non-state press, Western radio and television, Russian television and FM radio stations (all the mass media shortlisted have a positive index).

Table 9. Index of trust in mass media*

Answer
Survey of opinion leaders
Nation-wide poll
total
who represented
non-government structures
government agencies
Belarusian non-state media
+0.462
+0.724
+0.130
–0.094
Western radio
+0.240
+0.481
–0.043
–0.162
Western TV
+0.176
+0.393
–0.087
–0.174
Russian TV
+0.157
+0.276
0
+0.355
Belarusian non-state radio (FM-channels)
+0.019
+0.034
0
+0.035
Russian newspapers
–0.096
–0.034
–0.174
+0.183
Russian radio
–0.118
–0.179
–0.043
+0.210
Belarusian non-state TV
–0.286
–0.276
–0.300
–0.097
Belarusian government papers
–0.736
–1.000
–0.500
+0.115
Belarusian government radio
–0.808
–1.000
–0.565
+0.137
Belarusian government TV
–0.827
–1.000
–0.652
+0.118

* The index of trust may be in the range of +1 to –1 and is a correlation between the sum of positive answers “I trust in them” and negative answers “I do not trust in them”, and the number of all respondents, who answered the question

The leaders trust least Belarusian state-run mass media. The same distribution is among the leaders of non-state structures. Only Belarusian non-state newspapers received a positive index with the leaders of state structures, who trust least Belarus’s state-run mass media.
The population has, of course, different preferences. People trust most of all Russia’s mass media, and least – Western television (do they watch it?), Western radio, Belarus’s non-state television and non-state newspapers.
The majority of the respondents, both among the leaders and among the population as a whole, believe that Belarusian mass media are dependent. And most of all they are dependent, in line with a common opinion, on the president. The dependence on other institutions is of no importance, the respondents say.
Hence, A. Lukashenko’s opinion dominates Belarus’s mass media. However, the population is more prone to trust Russian mass media, first of all electronic, which broadcast volumes in Belarus are considerable. We could conclude that the population is tired of the Belarusian media’s suffocating atmosphere of “harmony of opinions,” lie and non-professionalism. This circumstance causes periodic outbreaks of A. Lukashenko’s hatred to the bulk of Russian mass media.