IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 3 (65), 2012




Inflation of the social state of mind
Passions about the voters turnout
In full conformity with the code of Hammurabi
Erosion of the image of a “strong leader”
Who supports А. Lukashenko supports the death penalty
“People’s program” for a split nation
Everybody to the voluntary Saturday work!
Whose wind is stronger?
The geopolitical swing swung aside from Russia
How Belarusians assessed the plush “landing force”
Social portrait of a supporter of the civil campaign “Our House” and its leader

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in September-2012


Vladimir Matskevich, philosopher
“Prospects of Belarusian civil society in the context of european integration”


Sergey Shapran, writer of political essays
“The 16th chronicle of Alexander Tomkovich”

Sergey Nikoliuk is 60!


Dear readers!


In the new issue of the analytic bulletin “IISEPS News” we offer to your attention materials reflecting the most important results of the Institute research between July and October, 2012.
A slow stabilization of the population’s “economic feeling” continued during the period. However, in general the positive “feeling” still lags considerably behind the negative one. This casts doubts on future wellbeing in the eyes of many Belarusians: 27.8% of respondents think that “the socio-economic situation in Belarus is going to become worse within the next few years”, and only 18.4% – that it is going to improve (in June 21.4% expected some improvement). As seen, unsteadiness of the economic situation, which many experts are talking about, is also felt by millions of our fellow citizens.
The unsteadiness inevitably tells upon the attitude of Belarusians to the authorities. Although the majority, as before, lean on the state and not on themselves for support, the way the notion of a strong state is being interpreted is already changing. Thus 43.3% answered the question: “Do you agree that a strong leader can give more to the country today than good laws?” in the affirmative, and 49.1% – in the negative. The actual “stabilization” of the rating of the head of state also testifies to it: in spite of the registered improvement in the “economic feeling”, A. Lukashenko’s rating has grown from 29.7% to 31.6% in comparison with June, i.e. within the sampling error (in March it made up 34.5%). As it has been already mentioned in the previous issues of the bulletin, “a feeling of the authorities’ injustice” is being added to the “economic worries” – millions of Belarusians receive offence on the part of the state instead of protection: a third of respondents said they had been treated badly by representatives of government bodies for the last three years.
However, the majority of them are not ready to openly express their discontent. The real results of the September parliamentary elections are eloquent of it. First of all, despite the numerous statements and evidence of the opposition representatives, the elections were valid (they were not valid in Minsk only): 17.4% of respondents had voted early (on September 18-22), and 49% – on September 23; 9.6% had boycotted the elections and another 24% said they had not participated due to other reasons. Declarations that “if the elections were valid”, it is due, in the first place, to the early voting when “most rigging occurred” do not correspond to the fact, either. As a matter of fact, only a little bit more than a quarter of all voters voted early – even less than at the previous parliamentary elections. At that only 2.2% said they “had been forced to do it”, and 15.2% had done it on their own initiative. Secondly, 47.5% of respondents considered the latest parliamentary elections “free and just”, and 27% did not agree with it. At the same time, the growing discontent with the authorities manifested itself in the following fact: for four years the ratio of those who voted for a candidate-the-supporter of the president, an independent candidate and a supporter of the opposition had appreciably changed not in favor of the authorities. The majority of Belarusians, however, still do not know the last name of the deputy elected in their constituency. Thus the elections have been valid, but their results do not meet the expectations of a considerable part of society, and do not trouble the majority much. Millions of Belarusians did not expect from the elections any serious changes in their lives before they were held, and do not expect anything after them.
The unsteady “economic feeling” and gradual “erosion” of the attitude to the authorities impact on the unsteadiness in foreign policy orientations of Belarusians, too. If in June when it was necessary to choose between integration with Russia and entering the European Union 43.6% still declared for the former option, and 39.8% – for the latter, then today the ratio has become reverse: 36.2% vs. 44.1%. Perhaps, Russian support thanks to which economic stabilization had begun since the end of the previous year, generated questions by the “mass Belarusian”. Thus the decision of the Belarusian government to sell its share of the gas transport enterprise “Beltransgaz” that had completely become the property of the Russian gas concern “Gazprom” was assessed positively only by 10% of respondents, and almost three fourths assessed it negatively. Belarusians treated a possible selling transaction of the Belarusian complex “Belaruskali” mining potash almost in the same manner. So far it is difficult to say whether the opinion mentioned above reflects the national interest of Belarusians, or whether it is simply a consequence of the current official propaganda – a proper monitoring is required for the matter.
At the same time it is too early to talk about a new “turn for Europe. Thus assessing the much-talked-of in summer “plush landing force” from Sweden to Belarus, 23% of respondents called it “a brave protest against violation of human rights”, 13.8% considered it “a provocation of western special forces”, and 31.7% – “a stupid act”, the same number of people “do not know what it is all about”. It is obvious that the response of the “mass Belarusian” to it differs strikingly from the response of the political by-net. Only 20.9% know/heard something about the beginning of a new program of the European Union “A dialogue about modernization of Belarus”; however, twice as many respondents think that “Belarus needs such a program. In other words, if attitude to Russia (from friendship to resentment) is built by the majority of Belarusians on the basis of their own experience, then to Europe (from hopes to apprehension) it is built rather on the basis of accessible information and stereotypes.
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 trends and counting up in terms of the main socio-demographic characteristics.
At our “Open Forum” philosopher Vladimir Matskevich, head of the coordination committee of the National Platform of the Civil Society Forum of Eastern Partnership reasons about the prospects of the Belarusian civil society within the framework of European integration. In the “Bookshelf” rubric the writer of political essays Sergey Shapran presents a new book by the author Alexander Tomkovich, well-known to our readers, about the leaders of the Belarusian civil society “Arrhythmia or the resistance code”.
As usual your feedback and comments are welcome!