Analyzing May events in Belarus we’ve supposed that adaptation of the Belarusian society to crisis would be the main trend of the second quarter of the year. That is why with a high level of probability June survey should have registered the so-called “effect of negative stabilization”, based on public apathy and indifference. Belarusians will choose regime of economy more and more often.

Survey results confirmed our forecast (tables 1-3). In March we’ve registered a collapse of the three social indices in comparison with December. In June all the three indices started to grow. Stabilization of ruble played a significant role in the swinging back the pendulum of social moods.

More than once we’ve attracted your attention to the anomalously high level of dollarization of Belarusian mentality. This anomaly has a rational explanation: the inability of the Belarusian state to curb inflation for 25 years already. In the end this leads to the weakening of ruble. The second denomination in Belarus (starting on July 1), this time getting rid of four zeros, graphically demonstrates one of main “appeals” of the Belarusian model.

State mass media campaign dedicated to the V All-Belarusian People’s Assembly has probably contributed a certain share in the growth of positive moods.

Looking into the future with optimism is one of characteristics of normal psychology. In June the share of Belarusians believing in the possibility of social-economic situation improvement in the next few years amounted to 19.9% (table 1), which caused a growth of expectation index from -30.2 up to -16.4.

Table 1. Dynamics of answering the question “How is the socio-economic situation going to change in Belarus within the next few years?”, %

Variant of answer 06′11 06′15 09′15 12′15 03′16 06′16
It is going to improve 11.9 21.7 20.6 16.5 12.7 19.9
It is not going to change 20.3 36.0 37.2 40.2 34.3 37.1
It is going to become worse 55.5 36.5 36.2 36.4 42.9 36.3
EI* –43.6 –14.8 –15.6 –19.9 –30.2 -16.4

* Expectation index (the difference between positive and negative answers)

 Despite the decrease of people’s real incomes in January-April 2016 by 6.9% comparatively to the same period of 2015, the most “material” of the social indices, the financial standing index demonstrated a noticeable growth (table 2). It should be noted that the share of Belarusians who mentioned an improvement of their financial standing increased insignificantly (+2.1 points). The increase of FSI happened mostly at the expense of 13.5-point decrease of the share of negative answers. This is an important moment in the dynamics of FSI. It testifies that at any moment people’s perception of their financial well-being may switch from a positive trend to a negative one.

Table 2. Dynamics of answering the question “How has your personal financial standing changed for the last three months?”, %

Variant of answer 06’11 06’15 09’15 12’15 03’16 06’16
It has improved 1.6 9.0 9.8 10.5 5.5 7.6
It has not changed 23.2 51.3 44.4 45.9 33.4 44.2
It has become worse 73.4 37.2 42.5 42.4 59.6 46.1
FSI* 71.8 –28.2 –32.7 –31.9 –54.1 –38.5

* Financial standing index


At the V All-Belarusian People’s Assembly Alexander Lukashenko once again declared the continuity of “our course” and keeping the basis of the Belarusian development model. However, only 29.1 of Belarusians believe in the correctness of “our course” today. More than a half of respondents (57%) don’t believe in it (table 3).

Table 3. Dynamics of answering the question “Do you think the state of things is developing in our country in the right or in the wrong direction in general?”, %

Variant of answer 09’11 06’15 09’15 12’15 03’16 06’16
In the right direction 17.0 34.6 34.8 36.7 23.5 29.1
In the wrong direction 68.5 49.4 48.0 50.9 58.5 57.0
DA/NA 14.5 16.0 17.2 12.4 18.0 13.9
PCI* 51.5 –14.8 –13.2 –14.2 –35.0 –27.9

*Policy correctness index

 Passive adaptation to crisis has its limit. Opportunities, present in the course of transformational crisis of the nineties, are almost exhausted today. Uncoordinated trade lost to trading networks and is unable to create any important number of jobs. There are no hopes for small business too. It is still cut off of investments, and also limited by the high number of administrative barriers, which appeared over the last years.

Informal employment is a product of the nineties. It had played an important role in the process of adaptation to the social stress. However, today its volume is balanced and adequate to the established structure of economy and labor market. In this relation it is highly unlikely that informal economic sector will react to the crisis by creating new jobs and playing a serious damping role.

In the upshot population doesn’t have institutional opportunities which played an important adapting role in the course of the crisis in the nineties.