IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),

N 3 (69), 2013




It’s difficult to live, but still possible to put up with it
Confidence in ruble as a derivation from confidence in A. Lukashenko
Dangerously explosive stability
A. Lukashenko is not an obstacle for cardinal changes
Necessary, but insufficient condition
Female face of Chernobyl fears
Geopolitical preferences: what has changed in 10 years?

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in September-2013


The prisoner of “electoral ghetto”
Integration with unpredictable consequences
Positive dynamics of the European pessimism



Dear readers!
In a new issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” we offer to your attention analysis and data reflecting the most interesting results of the Institute researches in the third quarter of 2013.
Our researches show that the positive trend in the “economic feeling” of Belarusians, outlined in the second quarter, displays unstable character again in the third quarter: the ratio of those whose financial standing improved during the last three months, and those, for whom it had worsened, decreased. In spite of the fact that the real income of Belarusians grew up, the level of optimism for the future decreased considerably. In this context the efforts of the authorities, directed on the strengthening of the national currency, numerous assurances that there will be no devaluation and appeals “not to listen to “rascals” and not to run to exchange offices” don’t convince the majority of the population – 72% consider the threat of Belarusian ruble devaluation real or possible, nearly a half still trust US dollar more than Belarusian ruble, and therefore over 62% of respondents follow the exchange rate of ruble to dollar. As a result, the trend towards a decrease of number of those who consider that “in general the state of things in our country is developing in the wrong direction” in comparison with those who gave the opposite answer registered in the second quarter, turns in the opposite direction again.
IISEPS publications more than once noted that the attitude of Belarusians towards the government has become more and more skeptical during recent years and this is related not only to the “economic feeling” drop, but also to the increasing gap between the state and the people. It becomes apparent in different ways. For example, while answering the question about whom in Belarusian society succeeds most of all today, the majority of respondents told “someone on a high post, close to the regime” and “someone well-connected”. Nearly 37% of Belarusians “during the last five years were obliged to give money, valuable presents or to render a service for a positive decision in their favor”. No wonder that over 42% of citizens “don’t feel themselves under protection of law”.
However these moods aren’t transferred to the head of state directly and the resource of public trust to him is still not exhausted: his trust rating practically didn’t change, and his electoral rating continues to grow little by little. The reasons of A. Lukashenka’s rating stability are diverse and cannot be reduced only to the total control over society. These reasons include also a skillful “shifting of responsibility” for various mistakes and failures in policy and economy on others, as well as the absence of convincing alternative for the majority of voters, and many other things. However, it should be noted that not everyone who is ready to vote for him completely shares the views of the president: only 18.4% of voters really share his views, 13.5% are ready to support him “until he defends the independence of Belarus”, 14% support him “in the absence of other worthy politicians”. Still the main reason is in the long-term political tradition of a “powerful hand” – nearly 55% of respondents consider that “there are such situations (for example, now) when it’s necessary to engross the absolute power in a single pair of hands” or that “our people always need a “powerful hand”. Much less people consider that “it’s absolutely inadmissible if all the power is given into the hands of one person”.
Despite the fluctuations of “economic feeling”, readiness of society for changes, including opposition support, remains low: even though every second respondent would like revolutionary changes in internal and external politics of Belarus to happen during the next five years, only every fourth considers these changes possible, 56.1% think they are unlikely, and 13.8% consider them impossible at all. Less than 15% of respondents consider themselves in opposition to the current regime, and a little more than 15% trust opposition political parties. As well as in the case of president support, the weak support of opposition can’t be explained only by propaganda and fear factors. In spite of the fact that the gap between the power and the people gradually increases, there is no corresponding rapprochement between the opposition and the people yet: less than a quarter of respondents think that Belarusian opposition understands problems and concerns of people like them, and 56.6% answered this question negatively.
Though the trends of Belarusians’ foreign policy orientations remain generally the same, some “fall of temperature” in the relation to Russia is noted again, however it didn’t lead to the growth of the pro-European orientations automatically. Geopolitical choice for the majority of Belarusians is a multilevel and multipart process determined by the factors of current policy, fundamental values and real opportunities. For example, though the majority of those who would like to move to another country for permanent residence name Germany and the USA, in reality an absolute majority of 25.8% of the Belarusian citizens working abroad today, work in Russia, and not in the West.
As usual, for those readers who are more interested in our figures than in assessments we afford ground for analyzing the research results on their own by means of counting up in terms of the main socio-demographic characteristics.
In our “Open Forum” rubric we continue to provide to our colleagues from neighboring countries the possibility to share the results of their last researches.
For the readers of our “Bookshelf” rubric we announce the forthcoming brochure which will be published soon revealing the results of the project “Belarusian Youth on the Labor Market and in the Labor Relations” recently conducted by IISEPS in cooperation with Belarusian Schuman Society.
As usual your feedback and comments are welcome!