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ARE THE BELARUSIANS AS TOLERANT AS THEY SEEM TO BE?

For the sake of getting to know possible social tensions in the Belarusian society and its readiness to conflicts, the respondents were asked a question about their attitudes to political, professional and other groups (see Table 1).

Table 1. Distribution of answers on the most disliked groups in society

Almost half of Belarusians cannot stand fascists, over a third said they dislike nationalists and homosexuals. However, none of the above groups is disliked by the majority of the population. Another interesting fact is that 25% of the population dislike president Lukashenko’s opponents, confronted by a group twice as small, who feel aversion to president Lukashenko’s supporters. If there is a line of divide in society, it is between these two groups of people.

The Belarusian people are traditionally thought to be tolerant, i.e. permissive of any kind of beliefs and practices. However, according to Table 2, it is not quite so.

Table 2. Distribution of answers on the measures, which must be used to combat specific groups in society, which are disliked by the respondent

This is seen from the table, the proportion of people, who demand that the activities of disliked groups be unconditionally banned or limited. Analysis shows that prohibition as a possible solution is most popular among the respondents, who said they disliked neo-fascists, Zionists, entrepreneurs and president Lukashenko’s opponents.

The survey also traced a link between aggressiveness and education, age and place of residence. 48.0% of respondents, who are older than 50, and 49.5% of those, who have 8 years of secondary education or less, think it is necessary to ban the activities of groups, to which they feel antipathy, while the proportions of 20-30 year olds and people who were educated at higher education institutions are only at 30.0% and 28.4% respectively. People, who live in Minsk show more tolerance than dwellers of other towns. Only 28.3% of the former support the policies of prohibition, against 45.2% of dwellers of other Belarusian cities and 44.7% of people who live in the countryside.