IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 2 (64), 2012




What can Belarusians afford?
Electoral support erosion
Support by form of habit
Nonchance result
In strict compliance with the law and constitution
Parliament is no place for law making
Attitude to ballot boycott
Between constitution and sturgeon under hourseradish souce
Ambivalent geopolitical choice
Belarusian pantheon

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in June-2012


“The first think tank in Belarus is 20”


Dear readers!


In the new issue of our analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” we would like to present you materials dealing with the most fascinating results of the Institute’s activity in the second quarter of 2012.
Our surveys show that stabilization of “the economic feeling” of Belarusians continues but at a slower rate: whereas in December the quantity of those whose financial standing had worsened for the last three months was 8.4 times more than the quantity of those whose standing had improved, and in March that ratio was 2.7, today the ratio is 2.5. Whereas in December the percent of those considering that the Belarusian economy was in crisis against their opponents was 10.2 times higher, and in March the ratio was 5.1, today the ratio is 3.3. Thus, the pace of growth of the socio-economic “optimism” slowed down: while in December the ratio of those who anticipated worsening of the socio-economic situation in Belarus in the coming years against those who expected improvement thereof was 45% vs. 17.1%, and in March, 32.7% vs. 22.5%, today it is 30.4% vs. 21.4%.
However, if previously stabilization of “the economic feeling” of Belarusians used to “haul up” stabilization of their attitude to authorities, today “the scale-up trend” has changed for “the scale-down trend”. For instance, as early as in March the number of those trusting the president exceeded the number of the non-trusting, and today this ratio has changed in favor of the non-trusting again (38.5% vs. 51.9%). While the president’s rating grew up from 20.5% in September 2011 to 24.9% in December and 34.5% in March, today the rating has fallen again to 29.7%. Belarusians grow increasingly concerned about unfair and even unlawful attitude on part of the authorities. A good demonstration in this context is the attitude of the Belarusian people to the execution of D. Konovalov and V. Kovalev. Only 37.8% of respondents supported the verdict of the court and the president, and 34.4% held that both the accused should have been pardoned, other 7% argued that Konovalov should have been executed, while Kovalev should have been pardoned. Moreover, “the feeling of unfair regard from authorities” affects not only various everyday situations, but also the very structure of the Belarusian community. Thus, in August 2006 48.6% of respondents thought that president A. Lukashenko, primarily, relied on the military men, Ministry of Internal Affairs, KGB, and today the same opinion is held by 56.5%. At the same time, the number of those considering that the president, primarily, relies on ordinary people has fallen for six years from 34.2% to 18.1%. No wonder that while describing their relations with the authorities, the majority of the respondents (63.3%) said “I trust only myself in life and avoid contacts with the authorities”.
Such situation cannot but increase the changes expectations. Thus, the number of people thinking that Belarus needs changes is higher today than in the height of the last year’s crisis. The key and most preferable way leading to changes for millions of Belarusians is still elections. Right now, over 50% of respondents are willing to take part in voting at the September Parliamentary Elections, about 20% are not going to vote, and 30% have not taken their decision yet. The idea of boycott of this election appeals only to 14.2%. Thereupon, we can assume that just as it was during the previous parliamentary elections, about 60% of electors will vote in September. Besides, the number of people willing to vote for alternative candidates has grown considerably. The question “If a sympathetic parliamentary candidate should offer you to join his voting team, would you agree to join?” aroused a positive answer in 21.5% (i.e. a million and a half voters) of respondents. At the same time the attitude to the parliamentary elections as to the way leading to changes is being notably transformed: only 36.8% of respondents think that these elections will be free and fair, and 39.6% hold the opposite view, only 36.7% believe that the election results depend on their votes, while 54.5% are of the opposite opinion, only 39.1% assume that there will be a real contest among the candidates at the pending elections, 46.9% think that there will be only an imitation of the contest, and the seat distribution will be pre-determined by the authorities. In such conditions the voters are especially concerned about the observation at the elections. Almost two thirds of them think that independent observation of the election process contributes to increased fairness and objectiveness of the elections, over 50% are interested in obtaining information on the compliance with the election procedures from the observers, about a quarter would personally like to become observers of the election process, and 28% are willing to provide the observers with the information about violations in the election process.
Stabilization of “the economic feeling” taking place against the background of “the scale-down trend” of the attitude to authorities has a specific effect on foreign-policy orientations of Belarusians. The most important foreign-policy trend is not so much the orientation either for the European Union or for Russia (which is very often influenced by the political and propagandistic situation), as the slowly but steadily growing interest of Belarusians to the life abroad in general. Today 53.7% of respondents express their wish to work/study abroad, and 41.4% would even like to emigrate to another country for permanent living if they had such an opportunity.
As usual, for those readers who are more interested in our figures than our conclusions, we offer an opportunity to analyze the research results on their own by way of counting up on the basis of our tables of the major socio-demographic characteristics.
In the context of the 20th anniversary of IISEPS and the associated international conference “The Future of Belarus” (we plan to publish a book on the conference results) held in May in Vilnius, in the united section “Free Tribune” and “Bookshelf” we offer you two pieces of information published in the anniversary booklet of IISEPS – comments of some scientists, state and public figures on the Institute’s activity, as well as the system of distribution of the results of the Institute’s research – which, as we think, reflect the major lines of the Institute’s activity and achievements for 20 years. All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!