(were interviewed 1.498 persons aged 18 and over, margin of error doesn’t exceed 0.03)

  • Stabilization of “the economic feeling” of Belarusians continues but its rate has, obviously, slowed down: while in December the number of those, whose material standing had worsened for the last three months was 8.4 times higher as against the number of those, whose standing had improved (59.8% vs. 7.1%), and in March the ratio was 2.7 (40.4% vs. 15.3%), today the ratio is 2.5 (31.9% vs. 12.8%). Whereas in December the ratio of those considering that the Belarusian economy was in crisis against their opponents was 10.2 (81.5% vs. 8%), and in March the ratio was 5.1 (77.2% vs. 15.1%), today the ratio is 3.3 (71.7% vs. 21.5%). Yet, it is not that “the economic feeling” has returned to the pre-crisis level: while in March 2011 10.3% of respondents said that “we hardly make both ends meet, there is not enough money even for food”, and 33.7% argued “there is enough money for food, however purchasing of clothes causes serious difficulties”, today 14% has given the first variant of answer, and 43.2%, the second one. The pace of growth of “socio-economic optimism” has slackened correspondingly: while in December the ratio of those who anticipated worsening of the socio-economic situation in Belarus in the coming years against those who expected improvement thereof was 45% vs. 17.1%, and in March, 32.7% vs. 22.5%, today it is 30.4% vs. 21.4%. In such conditions the endeavours of the government for “reanimation” of the economy by way of engaging of Belarusians into private entrepreneurship do not evoke much enthusiasm with the latter: while in March 2011 53.8% would like their children go in for private business and tie their lives with entrepreneurship, today this ratio makes up 46% vs. 40.4%.

  • However, unlike the previous period when stabilization of “the economic feeling” of Belarusians used to “haul up” stabilization of their attitude to authorities, “the scale-up trend” has changed for “the scale-down trend”. For instance, as early as in March the number of those trusting the president exceeded the number of the non-trusting (47.9% vs. 42%), and today this ratio has changed in favor of the non-trusting again (38.5% vs. 51.9%). While the president’s rating grew up from 20.5% in September 2011 to 24.9% in December and 34.5% in March, today the rating has fallen again to 29.7%. The IISEPS press releases and analytics of the recent years have already mentioned that the Belarusians grow increasingly concerned about unfair and even unlawful attitude on part of the authorities. A good demonstration in these terms is the attitude of the Belarusian people to the execution of D. Konovalov and V. Kovalev convicted with regard to the case of the terrorist attack in the Minsk Metro. Only 37.8% of respondents supported the verdict of the court and the president, and 34.4% held that both the accused should have been pardoned, another 7% argued that D. Konovalov should have been executed, while V. Kovalev should have been pardoned (more than 20% found it difficult to answer). Moreover, “the feeling of unfair regard from authorities” affects not only various everyday situations, but also the very structure of the Belarusian community. Thus, in August 2006 48.6% of respondents thought that president A. Lukashenko, primarily, relied on the military men, Ministry of Internal Affairs, KGB, 37% – on the president’s top-down command structure, 20.5% – on state officials, and today the same opinions are held by 56.5%, 45.4% and 33.2% correspondingly. At the same time, the number of those considering that the president, primarily, relies on ordinary people and villagers has fallen for six years from 34.2% and 30% to 18.1% and 24%. No wonder that while describing their relations with the authorities, the majority of the respondents (63.3%) said “I trust only myself in life and avoid contacts with authorities” (only 7.6% said “contacting authorities I draw what I need out of them”). Hence, the assessment of the general state of things in our country, which over half of the year tended to grow increasingly positive (the number of those considering that the things are going wrong fell from 68.5% in September to 52.5% in March), attains negative dynamics again – today 54.3% hold this point of view.

  • “The scale-down trend” of the people’s attitude to the authorities cannot but increase the changes expectations. Thus, in spite of the relative economic stabilization, the number of people thinking that Belarus needs changes is higher today than in the height of the last year’s crisis: cf. in March 2011, 61.1% thought the changes necessary, today, 77.3%. However, the changes expectations, as it has been repeatedly observed, do not automatically invoke growth of the protest potential in the Belarusian community. For instance, while in December 22.6% saw themselves in opposition to the acting power, today, 19.2%, and the electoral ratings of the opposition leaders remain low: whereas in March 6.8% and 6.1% were ready to vote for the alternative front-runners of the latest presidential elections V. Neklyaev and A. Sannikov, today, 6.1% and 5.1% correspondingly. Similarly, the idea to create a government-in-exile, which is being vigorously discussed in the opposition circles in recent months, wins a generally negative attitude among Belarusians: only 9.4% have supported this idea, 41.8% think that they must struggle for power inside Belarus and not create a government abroad, 28.3% hold that the acting Belarusian authorities are lawful and legitimate and no governments-in-exile could represent any nation, and 5.2% are sure that the Belarusian government-in-exile exists already, this is the BNR Rada. The key and most preferable way leading to changes for millions of Belarusians is still elections. Right now, 50.7% of respondents are willing to take part in voting at the September Parliamentary Elections, 19.4% are not going to vote, and 29.9% have not taken their decision yet (in June 2008, 53%, 18.4% and 27.4% correspondingly). The idea of boycott of this election appeals to 14.2%, does not appeal to 29.5%, 28% have expressed their indifference, and 28.3% have heard nothing about it (in June 2004 it was 9.9%, 27.8%, 26.7% and 35.3% correspondingly). Thereupon, we can assume that just as it was during the previous parliamentary elections, about 60% of electors will vote in September. Besides, the number of people willing to vote for alternative candidates has grown considerably. Whereas four years ago, 39.6% were willing to vote for A. Lukashenko’s proponents, 17.7%, for his opponents, and 31.4% for other candidates, today the percentage is 27.6%, 28.2% and 27.4% correspondingly. The question “If a sympathetic parliamentary candidate should offer you to join his voting team, would you agree to join?” aroused a positive answer in 21.5% (i.e. a million and a half voters) of respondents.

  • Meanwhile, the attitude of Belarusians to parliamentary elections as a way leading to changes has transformed significantly. Thus, only 36.8% of respondents think that the pending election will be free and fair, and 39.6% hold the opposite opinion (in June 2008, 45.9% vs. 34.8% correspondingly), only 36.7% believe that the election results depend on their votes, and 54.5% are of the opposite opinion, only 39.1% think that a real struggle will take place in this election, whereas 46.9% are sure that there will be only an imitation of struggle and the seats will have been distributed by the authorities beforehand, only 38.5% think that the House of Representatives to be elected at the pending elections will represent the public views, and 46.2% take the opposite point of view, whereas 40.3% even think that the activities of the House of Representatives do not have any effect either on their lives or the lives of their relatives and friends (44.5% said “it does have an effect”). It is notable, that such skepticism towards the parliamentary elections results not only from the governmental policy. For instance, only 37.7% believe that opposition candidate will offer realistic programs for the improvement of life in the country, whereas 40.1% have answered in negative to this (the candidates supporting the governmental line do have such programs according to the opinion of 45.8%, do not have – 37.8%). In such a situation electors are especially concerned about independent observers at the elections. The majority of them (63.7%) think that independent observation of the election process contributes to the increased fairness and objectiveness of elections, 52.7% are interested in obtaining information on following the electoral procedures from the observers (with preference for independent observers – 37.7%, and not for the observers of the organizations supported by the government – 6.9%), 22.7% would like personally to become election observers, another 28% are willing to provide observers with the information on infringements in the course of elections. For instance, one half of the respondents have heard that all local, independent and international OSCE observers noted significant violations of the electoral process during Parliamentary Elections 2008 and Presidential Elections 2010 in Belarus. This points to the fact that the potential for the purpose of achieving changes through elections has not exhausted in the Belarusian community yet.

  • Stabilization of “the economic feeling” taking place against the background of “the scale-down trend” of the attitude to authorities has a specific effect on foreign-policy orientations of Belarusians. For instance, whereas in June of the previous year the ratio of those willing to vote for/against Belarus membership in the European Union at a hypothetic referendum was 45.1% vs. 32.4%, today it is 39.3% vs. 38.2%, and the ratio of those willing to vote for/against the Belarus-Russia Union has grown from 31.4% vs. 47.8% last June up to 34% vs. 44.3% today. In the conditions of the alternative choice between the union with Russia and membership in the European Union 43.6% today speak for the first variant, while 39.8% for the second one. As has already been noted in the previous press releases of IISEPS, the key reason for such a trend lies in the fact that even the people far from political games know who we are to thank for this economic stabilization. Thus, while assessing the effects of Belarus joining in the Common Economic Space together with Russia and Kazakhstan from the 1st of January 2012, 14.2% of respondents see only positive effects, 32.2% see more positive than adverse effects (only adverse effects – 4.1%, more adverse effects than positive effects – 13.9%); and V. Putin’s idea on creation of a Eurasian Union with the participation of Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and, probably, other countries invokes a positive attitude in 48.7%, a negative attitude, in 10.7%, and makes no difference for 31.4% (in December it was 33.2%, 13.6% and 38.2% correspondingly). Almost 39% of respondents think that people today have a better life in Russia rather than in Belarus (in Belarus, 23%). However, the most important foreign-policy trend is not so much the orientation either for the European Union or for Russia (which is very often influenced by political and propagandistic situation), as the slowly but steadily growing interest of Belarusians to the life abroad. Today 53.7% of respondents express their wish to work/study abroad (15.1% in Germany, 11.4% in the USA, 8.9% in Russia, 9.8% in any country rather than in Belarus), and 41.4% would even like to emigrate to another country for permanent living if they had such an opportunity (8.8% to Germany, 7.9% to the USA, 6% to Russia). Last May 38.5% responded the same way.