IISEPS News, N 4 (26), 2002



Strengthening Role of Independent Social Research and Experts’ Networks in Belarus:
Results of a national public opinion poll

Open Forum:
Olga Ipatova, Writer
Intellectuals and Authority

Alexander Sasnow, IISEPS
Leonid Zlotnikov. “In the Noose of Populism: Ideology, Politics and Economics in Independent Belarus”


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 final quarter of 2002.
The beginning of that period was marked by strengthening anti-Russian propaganda from the side of Belarusian authorities and official mass media. And if the tragedy at the Dubrovka theater center could not stop that campaign, the suspension of natural gas supplies by Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom cooled off “Belarusian hot heads” and made A. Lukashenko to hurry to Moscow with apologies. Nonetheless, the relations between Moscow and Minsk have remained rather chilly.
There has been no improvement in the relations between official Minsk and European states and international organizations during the given period. In particular, the Czech government denied the Belarusian president an entry visa to attend the NATO summit in Prague, and 14 EU member-states decided to ban A. Lukashenko and the key figures in the Belarusian leadership from entering their territories. To all appearance, that decision forced the Belarusian authorities to agree to a resumption of the OSCE mission in Minsk. At the same time that is one of possible reasons for A. Lukashenko’s renewed “flirt” with Russia’s leadership.
The above mentioned events found proper reflection in public consciousness and we recorded it during our studies. The information-analytical materials presented in this issue contain the data of regular sociological monitoring of public opinion and opinion of the elite, commentaries from our experts on the most important findings of our sociological procedures as well as information without commentaries, which is traditionally presented with regard to the basic social-demographic groups and in the form of trends. Of course, this information provides not a full, but a reliable picture of the current state of the Belarusian society, characterizes the dynamics of processes taking place in public consciousness and also allows predicting possible tendencies of socium’s development in the near future.
This time our traditional rubric “Open Forum” is given to the former head of the Union of Belarusian Writers, prominent writer O. Ipatova, who has recently, unexpectedly for herself, happened to be at the edge of the relations between the writing community and the authorities. As we know, she had to quit her post at the Writers’ Union under the pressure from officials, whose offhand attempts to thrust upon the writing community their vision of writer’s role and place in the modern life were likely to result in a public confrontation between the brightest and the most talented representatives of creative intellectuals and apologists of the regime. In this respect, in our opinion, the reader will be able to appreciate her article about the problems creative intellectuals face in the modern Belarusian society.
The issue is crowned with the rubric “Bookshelf” in which we introduce a new book to our readers – a book by an expert for IISEPS, candidate of economic science L. Zlotnikov, which includes analytical articles devoted to ideology, politics and economics in independent Belarus and published in press over the recent years.
We hope that the current issue of our bulletin would be interesting and helpful to you and your colleagues. We are awaiting your comments and requests!