In the framework of the general trend to the improvement of social moods the share of positive answers to the question “Do you think that Belarusian economy is in crisis?” dropped by 6.9 points. Nevertheless, it is still abnormally high (chart 1).

Over the three months passed from the March survey the share of respondents believing in internal reasons of the crisis decreased by 6.2 points, which is quite significant (table 2). At the same time the share of those who believe in external reasons also decreased by 3.1 points. In the result the share of respondents who didn’t know how to answer this question exceeded one quarter! The main contribution to the growth of this share was done by Lukashenko’s supporters: March – 23%, June – 38.2%. Among his opponents the share grew only by 4.8 points: March – 10.1%, June – 14.9%.

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question “If you agree that Belarusian economy is in crisis, then what are its main reasons?” depending on attitude to A. Lukashenko, %

Variant of answer 03′16 06′16 Attitude to A. Lukashenko
Trust Trust
The reasons are external 30.7 27.8 42.6 13.5
The reasons are internal 51.9 45.7 19.2 71.6
DA/NA 17.4 26.6 38.2 14.9

This “asymmetry” should apparently be explained by the activation of state propaganda before the V All-Belarusian People’s Assembly. Over the years IISEPS surveys demonstrate that Lukashenko’s supporters are much more inclined to react to mobilization appeals of the power than his opponents.

However, propaganda’s ability to convince Lukashenko’s supporters that black is white and white is black significantly weakened at this stage of crisis. That is why respondents don’t change their evaluations to the opposite ones under the influence of propaganda, but just join the share of those who don’t know what to answer.

We’ve also registered a change in the top tier of the chart 3 in the answers to the question “Who is responsible for the present crisis in Belarus?”. Despite the decrease of “responsibility ratings” of both Alexander Lukashenko and the government, the “victorious palms” go the head of state. His rating exceeds the government’s by 6.7 points. Other “subjects” of Belarusian crisis (with the exception of the parliament) kept their ratings.

It is not excluded that the reason for this change is related to the increase of retirement age in Belarus, validated by Lukashenko in the end of March. It couldn’t influence the results of March survey since it was conducted in the first half of the month.

Among the most acute problems facing the country, price hike is still out of competition (chart 4). There is nothing surprising about it. In January-May 2016 Belarus again headed the list of countries with the highest consumer price hike among post-Soviet countries. These result are taken from the national statistics centers. Here are the top three countries: Belarus – 7%, Azerbaijan – 6.7%, and Ukraine – 5.2%.

Economists say that consumer inflation should be regarded as a kind of poverty tax, since price hike influences people with a low level of incomes in the first place. However, IISEPS surveys do not register a linear dependency between the topicality of price hike and the level of incomes. Among respondents with the income below 1.7 million rubles in June 68.8% named inflation (price hike) as the most acute problem; 1.7-2.8 million rubles – 75.6%, 2.8-5.6 million rubles – 75.1%, over 5.6 million rubles – 63.9%.

Why Belarusians with the minimal incomes are less sensitive to the inflation in comparison with more well-to-do groups? Two explanations can be offered here, taking into account the fact that as a rule low incomes are specific to the representatives of peripheral social groups (elderly people, people with low level education, people living in villages). First, people with the mentioned socio-demographic characteristics are more susceptible to propaganda. Second, many of them are included in modern economy only marginally (they live off their vegetable gardens).

In June 2014 unemployment as an acute problem was mentioned only by each fourth Belarusian. In June 2015 and 2016 every second Belarusian mentioned it. This problem is especially topical for respondents in active age groups: 18-29 – 59.1%, 30-39– 63.8%, 40-49 – 59.2%. Topicality of unemployment drops in the older age groups: 50-59– 52.5%, 60+ – 41.9%.

It should be noted that men are more anxious about losing their jobs than women: 58.5% vs. 51.8%.

The lack of serious complaints against the educational system (13.1%) and law and order (15.8%) also testifies on the passive adaptation to the crisis, as these institutions allow to build active life strategies in the modern dynamic world.