IISEPS News, N 2 (32), 2004



Strengthening Role of Independent Social Research and Experts’ Networks in Belarus:

Materials of scientific seminar “Influence of Democracy on Public Opinion and Politics in Belarus”:
Sergei Skrebets, Viktor Ventskovich. “Influence of agencies of state authority on public opinion and politics in Belarus”
Prof. Stanislav Bogdankevich. “Influence of political parties on public opinion and politics in Belarus”
Tatiana Protko. “Patterns of civic society influence over public opinion and politics in the period of transition”
Alexander Milinkevich. “NGO’s democratic influence on public opinion and politics in Belarus”
Dina Beliavtseva, Irina Bugrova. “Comparative analysis of possibilities and means of announcing public opinion in belarusian regions”
Prof. Oleg Manaev. “Think tanks influence on public opinoin and politics in Belarus”
Vladimir Dzuba. “Mass media iinfluence on the public opinion and politics in Belarus”

Results of the Public Opinion Polls:
Elite doesn’t support the course of authorities
Elite and parliamentary election
Elite and presidential election
Elite is inert. So far…

Consolidation is the road to success
Belarusians are ready to support contender to A. Lukashenko but so far they don’t know such
Most voters don’t believe in fairness of Belarusian courts
“Silent revolution”, or changes in the structure of Belarusian society
Majority of Belarusians stands against restoration of USSR
Geopolitical dilemma
Belarusians’ hero list
People pin socio-economic hopes on some other presidential candidate
The type of economics Belarusians want
Majority of Belarusians stands against “total contracting of the country”

Open Forum:
Sergei Screbets:
“It was a good test for everybody”

Leonid Zlotnikov, PhD.
“Economic Relations Belarus-Europe and Belarus-Russia in the context of energy security”


Dear readers!


The next issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News” offers to your attention materials reflecting the most interesting results of the Institute’s studies in the second quarter of 2004.
In the opinion of many experts, the most topical problem of public life in Belarus, especially before the parliamentary election, is access of democratic organizations to the electorate as well as influence on the public opinion and policy. Ten-year governance of President A. Lukashenko has resulted in almost total isolation of democratic forces and most NGO’s as well as private businessmen from millions of voters, from not just decision-making but even from discussion of key issues pertaining to the development of society and the state. At the same time, the authorities literally control and manage huge resources of such influence – system of education, mass media, trade unions, legislative power, etc. This is a total mismatch. This is why in June the IISEPS conducted scientific seminar “Democratic Influence on Public Opinion and Politics in Belarus” in Grodno. Within two days, over 30 leaders of political parties and human organizations, scholars and journalists, businessmen and culture workers many of which will take part in the parliamentary election have been actively discussing the influence of the Government, parties, business and the civic society on the public opinion and policy in Belarus. A separate discussion was given to the ways and instruments of such influence. Its main conclusions were based on the following arguments: deliberate blocking of such influence by governing bodies leads the country to isolation from social and technical prog-ress; despite this fact, readiness of the society to exert such influence has lately increased; the forces concerned in such influence have been steadily consolidating, etc. They are presented in the reports of the noted experts and policymakers published in this issue of the bulletin.
The results of the opinion poll among public opinion leaders and policymakers conducted by the IISEPS in May of 2004 reveal growing criticism of the current political and socio-economic course, but it is so far hidden under the loyal stand of the Belarusian elite. Also, the results of the nation public opinion poll conducted in June show increasing readiness of the Belarusians to changes (not only “negative”, i.e. disapproval of the current course but also “positive”, i.e. readiness to support alternative candidates at the coming parliamentary election as well as at the future presidential election.) Furthermore, the analysis exposes how deeply the very structure of the Belarusian society changed over the past ten years. In our opinion, overcoming consequences of this “silent revolution” will take pretty much time and efforts even if the political course changes.
This time our “Open Forum” is given to participant of a recent political hunger strike, Deputy of the Belarusian Parliament Sergei Skrebets who is known not only in his constituency in Lida but also far beyond Belarus. In his interview with Vladimir Dorokhov, he explains reasons and objectives of this non-typical political action as well as airs his viewpoints on further development of public life in this country. Because of the hungerstrike, S. Skrebets couldn’t personally participate in our seminar (his assistant delivered his report), so in this interview he answered post factum to the questions about which we think not just seminar participants but many Belarusians are concerned as well.
On our “Bookshelf”, there’s a new book titled “Economic relations Belarus-Europe and Belarus-Russia in the context of energy security”. It was published quite recently by the representative of Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Belarus. In the series of special round-table discussions, many noted experts have given a detailed analysis of this problem as of the one that greatly influences the geopolitical choice of this country. Critical review by the reputable economist L. Zlotnikov outlines the most important and disputable conclusions of this collection of reports.
We hope that you will find this issue of the IISEPS bulletin as interesting and helpful for you and your colleagues as always. All comments and requests are, as usual, welcome!