IISEPS News – ISSN 1822-5535 (Printing), ISSN 1822-5543 (ONLINE),
N 2 (44), 2007




Emotional climate in the Belarusian society
Up’s and down’s of the ratings of trust
Don’t trust, yet support
Dynamics of “unanimity and solidarity”
Case of A. Kozulin, a year after
Oil & gas patriotism
Optimism has gone down
Language of the president
Some to the East and some to the West?
Neither Eastern not Western. May it be itself
“Belarus in the circle of disinformation”
Hoping because trusting
Dynamics of love under bureaucracy
The question “Who’s in fault?” is not topical so far
Awareness as a factor of politics
From congress to congress
Belarus on the line of Huntington
Results of the opinion poll conducted in May of 2007


Alexander Yaroshuk
Preferences for Belarus


Dr. Martin Hekker
“Belarus and “Wide Europe”: in searches of geopolitic self-determination”
Mikhail Zalessky, RhD
Nice Thick Book


Dear readers!


We offer to your attention the next issue of the “IISEPS News” analytical bulletin presenting the materials which reflect the most important findings of the IISEPS studies in the second quarter of 2007.
Like experts predicted, oil and gas conflict between Minsk and Moscow didn’t end up in signing of agreement in January. Its consequences are beginning to show up in socio-economic development, internal and foreign policies. Thus, despite growing concern of millions of Belarusians (every two out five respondents said in May that they “already faced consequences of this conflict”), the authorities still decided to cancel benefits for the majority of population in order “to balance the budget”. A new wave of collapsing trust to basic state institutions, as well as the decisions of May Congress of Democratic Forces including planned actions of the opposition (for example, Social and European marches in autumn) were to a great extent determined by the situation that developed after this conflict. An obvious failure of “the dialogue with Europe” contrived by the Belarusian authorities to balance their foreign policy (its brightest example is the EU decision to exclude Belarus from the GPS) is also connected with the new geopolitical situation. These and other consequences will undoubtedly affect the country furthermore and even to a greater extent.
The problem, however, is that these consequences may equally have positive or negative affect on the situation in Belarus. For instance, gradual downfall of pro-Russian attitudes in the Belarusian society can be used to strengthen either pro-European or isolationist attitudes. Accumulation of socio-economic problems may prompt the authorities for partial liberalization as well for increase of state control in economics. Readiness of the opposition to a dialogue and negotiations with the authorities at the mediation of the EU may bring to reduction of authoritarian regime without losing face but may equally be taken as weakness and on the contrary generate a new wave of repressions.
Results of our research as well as analytics will help all the concerned actors – both inside and outside the country – take the best decision. As usual, we present sociological data, i.e. the so-called count-up tables, in the light of basic socio-demographic characteristics as well as the trends of change in Belarusian public opinion to those of our readers who prefer pure data to assessments and look for independent analysis. However, it looks like the Belarusian authorities are the first using the data and analysis of IISEPS, and they as usual do this not to adjust their course in accordance with changing interests and moods in the society but to stiffen this course and block up changes. Attitude to alternative information is quite illustrative in this regards. While Europe is slow to launch large-scale projects in support of civil society and the opposition is still debating about the most efficient methods of making information campaigns, the Belarusian authorities respond promptly and brutally (in what regards satellite and cable TV, local Internet networks, etc.).
This time our Open Forum has been given to the event that has recently again took back Belarus on the world news (unfortunately, embarrassing). Why was Belarus (second after Burma) deprived of trade preferences with the EU? Where will this lead the economics, society and the state? What should all concerned in changes for the better do in this regards? Prominent Belarusian politician Alexander Yaroshuk, Head of the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions, well understands this issue and shares his opinion with the readers.
On our Bookshelf, unordinary figure Dr. Martin Hecker, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Germany to Belarus, who also represents here EU Presidency, introduces a recent book by the IISEPS Belarus and “Wide Europe”: Quest for Geopolitical Self-identification. An independent expert Dr. Mikhail Zalesski presents another book – Liberalism. Ideology of a happy man by well-known Belarusian economist Y. Romanchuk.
All comments and feedbacks are as usual welcome!