A. Lukashenko started accumulating the political power in his hands right after the first presidential election in 1994. What did this publicly elected man begin from? As V. Lenin recommended, he yielded the mass media. Television was the first victim. Step by step, all state-run printed editions including Narodnaya Gazeta – an official mouthpiece of the Supreme Soviet – were taken under control.

Conversion of the television into a propaganda tribune affected its popularity and trust to ideology programs like “Postscript,” “Contours” and “Tough Talk.” Over a third of Belarusians (36.4%) are presently indifferent to the programs of this kind and approximately the same number (36.2%) trusts them which is much lower than the rating of trust to the president whose standpoint these programs express. Even under the conditions of information blockade, the majority of Belarusians knew about the action of protest against rigging of election held at the October Square in Minsk on March 19-24. (See Table 1). Nearly a third of respondents knew about the Chernobyl March as well.

We should like to consider the degree of awareness among Belarusians depending on their answer to the question “If the presidential election is again held tomorrow and the same candidates who ran for presidency on March 19, 2006 are on the ballot, for whom would you vote?” We shall divide all answers into two groups: the first will incorporate the respondents who would vote for A. Lukashenko (52.7% of the total number of respondents) and the second – all the rest (47.4%) including those who refused to answer or found it difficult to answer.

Table 1. Distribution of answers to the question: “Various actions of protest (rallies, marches, demonstrations, etc.) that took place in Minsk and other Belarusian cities at the initiative of democratic forces after the presidential election of March 19. Which of them have you heard about?”, % (more than one answer is possible)

Variant of answer

Nation opinion poll

Ready to vote again for A. Lukashenko

Other respondents

Action of protest at the October Square in Minsk on March 19-24




Chernobyl March on April 26




Day of Will on March 25




Jeans Fest in Minsk on September 16




Don’t know anything about this




As it goes from Table 1, there is no dependence between awareness of citizens and their readiness to support or not A. Lukashenko. Thus, unity of awareness about the actions of protest at the October Square in Minsk on March 19-24 is absolutely obvious while variance on all other opposition actions is twofold. How we can explain this? Events at the October Sq. took place right after the election when political interest in the society under the conditions of election mobilization was higher than normal. In addition, the authorities failed to conceal the events and this is why any citizen who wanted to receive political information did receive it. Undoubtedly, it was much more complicated for A. Lukashenko’s supporters than for his opponents to know about the Day of Will. Chernobyl March and Jeans Fest were held much later and the latter event wouldn’t attract many people as the Belarusians don’t have any long-lasting Chernobyl tradition.

How do citizens treat the actions like these? Thus, 29.3% are indifferent. Under the conditions when growth of wages and pensions is measured in two-figure numbers for a third year already, the majority sees and hears what they want to. It seems voters ask the authorities “Make it nice. Persuade us that we live better than anyone, better than the European countries.” The power eagerly responds to such requests and produces really nice pictures on TV screens.

Certainly, a sharp increase of wages and pensions cannot be doubted. Yet, those indifferent to politics and those condemning the opposition are not concerned in where the authorities take money and for how long this will continue as well as they are not interested in the fact that vaunted growth of Belarusian economics is twofold lower than growth of social payments. Is this a major component of the Belarusian economic miracle?

Despite all hindrances on the part of authorities, Belarusian opposition keeps upholding its goals. They are simple and well known: independence of Belarus, but not the Belarus where officials rule ignoring public opinion but of a democratic Belarus. The example of the Constitution discussed for already years by the presidents of Russia and Belarus is enough to illustrate that “servants of the people” ignore public opinion. (See Table 2).

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: “Draft Constitution developed for already several years by official delegations of Russia and Belarus hasn’t been signed yet. Why do you think this is happening?”, %

Variant of answer

Nation opinion poll

Ready to vote again for A. Lukashenko

Other respondents

The Constitution should not be published before it is approved by the two presidents




The power doesn’t think it necessary to discuss the Constitution with the people




It doesn’t matter




There’s no other more important norm which would relate to every citizen of Belarus. Yet, has anyone seen its draft? The authorities don’t think it necessary to introduce people to it, let alone any public discussion. The scheme is very simple: officials will agree on all points and will then simply put it on a referendum. What do citizens of Belarus have to do then? Just like under the Soviet Union, they will come to polling stations and prove the unity of “the party and the people.” There’s nothing else possible under such procedure.

Many of Belarusians have got accustomed to this disrespectful attitude over the past three referenda. This is not by chance that 36.6% of respondents believe that the Constitution shouldn’t be published before prior approval from presidents of Russia and Belarus. Another 24.6% are indifferent about all this which is very convenient for the authorities. How many are now those who clearly see arrogance of the authorities towards the people? They are quite few – 24.6%, but these are the people who make the core of the opposition-minded part of the Belarusian society. Naturally, percentage of those who trust the decision of this issue to the president is much higher among those who are ready to vote again for A. Lukashenko as compared to all other citizens. This difference shows the true nature of those who prefer an authoritarian leader. Such people are looking to shirk their problems on someone else and therefore they elect not a head of state at the presidential election but a father.

Opposition parties resolved to participate in the election into Local Councils of Deputies even under repression from authorities. They don’t have illusions about national peculiarities of the Belarusian electoral process. Election in Belarus is presently one of a few legal opportunities for party leaders to meet the electorate. Let’s look into Table 3. It proves that voters do understand this decision: 20.8% of respondents say that the opposition should go into the masses to win support of the population.

What stands on the first place in Table 3? This is justice and honesty. What does this indicate? First of all, this is the result of the official propaganda. What is a key subject of all the Postscripts, Contours and Tough Talks? Obviously, this is ripping into all those who presently don’t dare to share the official viewpoint. In accordance with the official version, there’s only one person in Belarus who can be just and fair. All efforts of state-run propagandists are focused to proclaim this.

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question: “What should the opposition do to receive greater support of population?” (no more than three answers)

Variant of answer


Be just and fair


Work better


Increase the living standard


Change its methods of struggle


Go into the masses


Opposition should unite


It doesn’t have a potential to do anything


We don’t need the opposition


On the other hand, putting honesty and justice on the first place reveals lack of these traits in the real life. Data in Table 3 is also a crib for all those who can act and not simply sit in front of a TV set with a fig in a pocket this way expressing their protest against inequity and injustice of the authorities. The society has the demand for activity of the opposition, and this is why they express a wish to have the opposition work better (25.2%). Of course, this is almost impossible to increase people’s living standard outside governing bodies and outside Local Councils of Deputies. This is why the authorities take such well-considered decisions like not to admit the opposition into electoral bodies of all levels.