IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 1 (47), 2008




The sublime and commonness
Tendencies of different directions
Who left grandchildren without chocolate?
Dividends of optimism
A portrait of an optimist
“Something good” in dictatorship
The “feminine” subject
Where does mercantilism lead to?
“An alien” protest
Elections with no choice
Geopolitical preferences of the Belarusians
Is Hillary our candidate?
Language of the public field
The society and state decisions
Conditions of will and trust to the president
Results of the opinion poll conducted in March of 2008


Hans-Georg Wieck, Ambassador
Belarus 2008 – Difficult Times Ahead


Oleg Manaev, professor
Grigory Ioffe. “Understanding Belarus and How Western Foreign Policy Misses the Mark”

Alexander Gritsanov, Ph.D.
Goncharik V. I. “Political Authoritarianism: Presidential Elections – the Belarusian Variant”

Doctor Hans-Georg Wieck Is 80!


Dear readers!


We offer to your attention the next issue of the “IISEPS News” bulletin presenting the materials which reflect the most important findings of the IISEPS studies in the first quarter of 2008.
Progressing uncertainty in the development of economic processes in the country, which are a consequence of the “Belarusian economic model” inability to respond in full measure to the challenges of globalization because it is founded on rudimentary production relations, continues to strengthen nervousness in the bodies of government. These governing bodies of the country, immanently incapable of taking strategic decisions, react to systematically emerging problems on the principle of “a fire-brigade”: they take only those measures which let them retain the power. As a rule, these measures are of fragmentary and contradictory character.
Already in the first quarter, having received regular “charitable” aid from the eastern neighbor, the authorities once more made repressions against their political opponents tougher and simultaneously undertook some petty liberal steps in the economy which had become impending long before. At the same time, financial resources given by Russia were sufficient enough for some decrease of tension in the Belarusian society and for another “purchase” of electorate votes. As a result of it support of the regime increased a bit. Results of the March national opinion poll testify to it. Analytical materials written according to them are presented on the pages of the bulletin in the rubric “Monitoring of the public opinion”.
At the same time it should be mentioned that the current “liberalization” attempt is not the first one. It had been spoken about already in 2001 on the eve of the presidential election, however “the oil off-shore” began to work soon and liberalization was happily forgotten. It looks as if the present “liberalization” stage were simply an opportunistic method of overcoming the emerged economic difficulties. Surely, the ruling team still has a considerable “margin of safety” for assertion of its opportunity to wield power over the country without any control. However, the inability of the “Belarusian economic model” to overcome emerging challenges of globalization automatically will in increasing frequency make its authors resort to “manual” government in the context of which instead of solving the problems they will drive them deep into, thereby condemning the country to systematic lagging behind the civilized world and to still bigger difficulties in the near-term outlook.
For the most curious readers we, as usual, give an opportunity to analyze some results of the March national opinion poll on their own. For this purpose we publish distribution of answers to the main questions in the light of the main socio-demographic characteristics.
This time in our traditional rubric “The Open Forum” we let have the floor to a well-known diplomat, scientist and simply a wonderful person, whose destiny has been associated with our country for many years at the turning point of the centuries. This is Doctor Hans-Georg Wieck, who was at the head of OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus in Minsk in 1997-2001. The lot of our country keeps interesting him now, too; that is why his opinion about political and strategic aspects of Belarus relations with Europe and Russia presents, in our point of view, considerable interest for the readers not indifferent to this subject-matter.
Two new books are presented on the “Bookshelf” in this issue. Professor O. Manaev, the IISEPS founder, presented his opinion about the monograph by Professor G. Ioffe “Understanding of Belarus and how the Western foreign policy makes a blunder” which has been published in New-York this year. In the reviewer’s opinion, the most important thing in this work is solidity of the analysis and impartiality of the position which makes the book priceless for specialists as well as for politicians.
Another review written by Associate Professor A. Gritsanov presents the book “Political authoritarianism: presidential elections – the Belarusian variant”, published in Saint-Petersburg and devoted to the analysis of the presidential campaign of 2001. The book is quite intriguing for our readers as the atmosphere of the political confrontation is described by a direct participant of those events, a former candidate for the top state post, V. Goncharik.
All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!