There is nothing surprising in the fact that Deputy Prime Minister in Belarus can afford to make a statement which would cost their job to a Western colleague. Belarusian model doesn’t include a real mechanism of social responsibility of the “servants to the people”. However, Belarusian officials don’t come from Mars, and many of their public statements, inadmissible according to the Western standards, don’t cause rejection of people.

One of such statements was used in a question in March (Table 1). Slightly more than one third of respondents agreed with the words of Deputy Prime Minister N. Kochanova, which means that people recognize that there is a direct relation between the quality and quantity of Belarusian doctors’ work and their salaries: “they are paid according to the way they work”.

Table 1. Distribution of answers to the question: “Deputy Prime Minister Natalia Kochanova said in February 2016 that “Belarusian doctors are paid according to the way they work”. Do you agree with this evaluation?” depending on attitude to A. Lukashenko, %

Variant of answer All respondents Attitude to A. Lukashenko
Trust Don’t trust
Yes 34.9 39.0 31.4
No 56.1 50.9 61.9
DA/NA 9.0 10.1 6.7

There is no fundamental difference in the answers of A. Lukashenko’s supporters and opponents. Nevertheless, you can observe a higher extent of dissatisfaction with doctors’ work among supporters. It’s possible that the reason for this is respondents’ age. Elderly people (most of them support the head of state) have to deal with doctors more often. Thus the difference between the answers of extreme age groups: 18-29 – 29%, 60+ – 39.9%.

Communal services tariffs hike has never caused positive emotions anywhere. Belarusians confirm this rule. People, who are duty-bound to regular “revisions” of rent bills, can at best count on people’s understanding.

It wasn’t difficult to predict which answer to the question “In the beginning of the year tariffs on communal services were significantly increased. What is your attitude to it?” will be the most popular (Table 2). Two thirds of respondents consider the increase of communal tariffs unfair. They have no such money! How can you talk about fairness there..?

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: “In the beginning of the year tariffs on communal services were significantly increased. What is your attitude to it?”

Variant of answer %
It’s an unfair decision: most people have no money to pay for these tariffs 66.9
It’s a difficult but needed decision: it’s demanded by the International Monetary Fund, and Belarus needs its help 20.8
It’s a fair decision: people should pay for communal services as much as they cost 7.2
DA/NA 5.1

Surprisingly, the level of social consciousness among A. Lukashenko’s supporters turned out to be significantly lower than among his opponents – 53.7% vs. 77.9%. The reason for the non-standard distribution of answers between the two parts of split Belarusian society lies in the second variant of answer: “It’s a difficult but needed decision: it’s demanded by the International Monetary Fund, and Belarus needs its help”. The IMF factor permitted the head of state’s supporters to transfer their discontent, caused by the violation of the principle of social fairness, to the ideologically alien Western financial institution. Let us note, that neither gender, nor age, nor education level affected the attitude to the IMF’s requirement. The only thing that mattered was ideological preference. This isn’t registered very often.

The last variant of answer, which gathered only 7.2% of votes, didn’t brought out any ideological differences: 8.4% – A. Lukashenko’s supporters, 7.1% – opponents.

The problem of increasing people’s remuneration of housing and communal services is not a novelty. During the “fat” years the government was increasing it gradually, wisely assuming, that amid the general background of increasing incomes, increase of communal tariffs won’t cause any particular resignation among population. During the crisis year of 2011, despite the resolution of the IV All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, remuneration of communal services by people wasn’t increased. On the contrary, it was decreased.

Peculiarity of the current development stage of Belarusian model lies in cutting down social programs. The state has no resources to maintain them at the same level as previously. However, judging by the results of March survey, people don’t fully understand it yet.