IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 3 (49), 2008




About the “unexampled democratism” of the last elections
Where is the hand of the social barometer pointing at?
About symbolic and pragmatic power
Success of the reforms which did not start
The woman’s constituent of a rating
Politicized mercy
Who tried to blow up Belarusian stability?
The echo of the Caucasian war or the European minimum-2
BY-Net in the mirror of sociology
In waiting for the social contract renewal
Results of the opinion poll conducted in September of 2008


Olga Karach, Head of the Vitebsk regional organization of the United Civil Party
The Belarusian strategy of Europe after the parliamentary elections-2008


Liudmila Gryaznova, Ph. D.
“Belarus at a split”


Dear readers!


We offer to your attention the next issue of the “IISEPS News” analytical bulletin presenting the materials that reflect the most important findings of the IISEPS studies in the third quarter of 2008.
The parliamentary election campaign became the main social event of the third quarter. Numerous statements made publicly by the president with regard to the fact that the present elections were going to become the most democratic ones in history not only in Belarus, but in the whole world, in the long run, just as it was to be expected, turned out to be nothing else but trivial propaganda designed to appease the West and also for the sake of blackmailing Russia in a certain way with a view to obtain more acceptable conditions for hydrocarbons provision next year.
First of all, forming of district and divisional election committees was completed exactly the way it had been forecast. Only a handful of joint democratic forces representatives managed to get into them, and it meant that any control over the counting of votes was out of the question.
Although this time the authorities registered virtually all the candidates nominated by the opposition, none of them could compete with the “necessary” candidates in any way. A candidate brought from Minsk and little known to anybody at all in the region “won” with the disparity in votes 10 to 1. Even such a well-known opposition politician as head of the Belarusian Party of Communists S. Kalyakin got only 15.6% of votes according to the final protocol.
The elections had only one round, which is another Belarusian tradition. It did not matter how many candidates were registered at an electoral district, it did not matter how equal they were in their unpopularity among voters – one of them would always get more than a half of votes; and such a candidate could easily be defined beforehand if one would familiarize oneself with the competitor’s for a deputy mandate place of work.
As a result everybody lost: opposition – on account of the crushing “defeat”; the authorities – owing to the refusal of the West to recognize the results of such elections; electors – due to the absence of any chance to get a representative of their interests in the parliament; and the country as a whole did not move forward into the direction of social life democratization in the least.
Although the official results of the elections have been already announced, the results of the pre-election national opinion poll conducted in the first half of September can define the close to the real one state of the Belarusian public opinion. The results are presented in the bulletin in the rubric “Monitoring of the public opinion in Belarus” including in the context of the main socio-demographic groups of the population.
This time Olga Karach, a well-known public figure and leader of Vitebsk liberals, appears in our traditional rubric “Open Forum”. She scrutinizes the situation in Belarus and around it after the parliamentary elections which have taken place. Undoubtedly, her views differ in many respects from the conclusions of a number of politicians and analysts, which have been published recently. However, in our opinion, the analysis presented by her is valuable exactly due to the fact that it lets “dissidence” force its way through the attitude of mind dominating in the opposition environment and to deliver to the readers the diversity of the intellectual constituent of the whole palette of the Belarusian public opinion.
Another (annual!) book of the well-known Belarusian economists Leonid Zaiko and Yaroslav Romanchuk “Belarus at a split” published this summer is being reviewed in the “Bookshelf” rubric of this bulletin issue. In the opinion of the reviewer, candidate of the economic science Liudmila Gryaznova, this book is an appeal to a dialogue, to a public discussion of the economic reforms ideology, to a serious talk about the country, about where its economy is moving to and what to do next. Furthermore, the reviewer considers this book a constructive and correct challenge to the authorities, to the state economic science and economic policy.
All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!