“Belarusian people unanimously condemn the U.S. aggressive moves” – said the Belarusian president. Is that statement true? Tables 1 and 2 provide some clues (The polling finished just a few days before the beginning of the NATO military operation in Yugoslavia).

Table 1. U.S. and Britain have recently undertaken a military action against Iraq, to make Saddam Hussein abide by the UN resolutions. What do you think about those actions?

When the poll was conducted, the Western military action against Iraq had already made history and the bombings of Yugoslavia were only in the preparation stage. However, people’s views of them are almost identical. Around 50% of respondents condemn the military actions, around 10% support them and 10% claimed they knew nothing of the events. Suggesting that part of the people, who avoided giving a clear answer did so because they feared something, we may presume that they approved of the military actions – people, who condemn “American aggressors” have nothing to fear in Belarus.

Table 2. NATO has recently voiced their readiness to organize a military campaign aimed at the prevention of the development of a Kosovo conflict in Yugoslavia. What do you think about that decision?

Although most of respondents did disapprove of the Western nations’ military actions against Iraq and Yugoslavia, the statement concerning unanimous condemnation is untrue, which is testified to by the fact that the sympathy of the respondents for the American president still hits record highs (Table 3).

The data in Table 3 illustrate the Belarusian conservatism. Apart from a dramatic fall of Boris Yeltsin’s popularity after the beginning of the August 17, 1998 Russian economic crisis, the change of ratings is insignificant: Lukashenko’s rating went slightly down and the popularity of the leaders of Lithuania and Iraq rose insignificantly. People might have accustomed to Lukashenko and appraised Saddam for resisting the American military actions. However, nothing can undermine Bill Clinton’s rating – neither was the scandalous impeachment story able to do so, nor the bombings of Iraq or the twists of his political and private life. Among Belarusian young people, the American president leads in popularity, which is far bigger than that of the Belarusian Head of State.

Table 3. Which high-ranking modern politicians do you like? Which of them to you believe to be ideal politicians? (%)

* The dash means the politician was not on the suggested questionnaire

Table 4. The living standards in Belarus shall match those in

However, maybe these ratings are predetermined by personal qualities of the leaders of world politics? That is partially true. But sometimes a positive or negative opinion of a political leader is determined by opinions about a country he leads. Even though Belarusian people condemn some activities carried out by Western countries, they still want to live at the Western standards, which is illustrated by Table 4. The countries, which were named by respondents but did not get on the list, were mentioned by less than 1% people.

Although Belarusians are vulnerable to the official anti-Western propaganda, their opinions concerning Western countries stay controversial: it is impossible to hate things one wants.