IISEPS News, N 2 (16), 2000



Think Tanks and Public Policy:
IISEPS, Society and Politics

Life in Our Time:
Results of a national public opinion poll, conducted in April 2000

Open Forum:
H.-G. Wieck, Ambassador, Head of the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus
Democratic Reforms in Belarus
Prof. M. Pastukhov, Head of the Media Rights Center of Belarusian Association of Journalists
Time to Choose


Dear readers!


Here is the sixteenth issue of the bulletin “IISEPS News”. The bulletin celebrates its fourths birthday with this issue. Therefore its lead article, written by the Institute’s board, reviews some of our activities during this period. Other articles in the bulletin traditionally cover the most interesting results of the surveys, conducted by the Institute in the second quarter of the year 2000. The information and analysis in the “Life in Our Time” section present some important results of a regular opinion poll, which the Institute conducted in April 2000. This survey traditionally covered a wide range of social, economic and political problems that the Belarusian society has to face. Some of the materials are comments made by the Institute’s experts to explain the respondents’ answers, which we thought were most interesting. Some materials give raw information without comments, which presents people’s views of some key problems of contemporary society, including attitudes to Alexander Lukashenko, integration with Russia, etc. The information is classified by Belarus’ major regions and by important social and demographic characteristics of respondents.
Besides, in this issue we continue to cover trends, which show people’s thinking about what have been the most vexed problems in the Belarusian society in the past few years. We hope that our readers have already had a chance to make use of this information, which allows forecasting social development trends.
This issue’s “Open Forum” section features the article by Ambassador Hans-Georg Wieck, head of the OSCE Advisory and Monitoring Group in Belarus. The Ambassador gives some convincing and cogent reasons behind the OSCE policy regarding the prospects of democratic reforms in the Belarusian society through negotiations and fair elections. It is known that different political forces in the country have opposing views of this problem. That makes the publication of this viewpoint quite useful, in our view.
The section also features another opinion about the same problem. Ex-member of Belarus’ Constitutional Court, prof. Mikhail Pastukhov shares a view, which is substantially different from the position of the OSCE. His article also includes some serious analysis of a wide spectrum of problems, related to the forthcoming elections, which makes it a valuable source of information. Both articles, which discuss important problems, are meant to help our readers to better understand their nature, reasons and driving forces, and decide whether and how to participate in the election process.
As usual, all feedback, comments or requests are welcome!