Irrespective of the optimistic state propaganda, which advocates economic accomplishments gained in 1998 under the wise leadership of the Savior of the Slavs, most people are pessimistic about the state of the economy and their living standards. Official statistics claimed that real incomes went up by more than 20%. However, only 3.5% of respondents said their living standards improved during the past year, and 76.1% claimed they deteriorated! (Table 1). The situation with young respondents is better somewhat because they are naturally more active in earning their living.

Table 1. How did the living standards in Belarus change in 1998, %

The poll also produced some information on the views of people about the aftermath of the economic crisis, which swept the country in autumn 1998. The rise of prices was the most painful, which was mentioned by 75% of respondents. The views of respondents at large and young people reveal only a slight difference (Table 2).

Table 2. The aftermath of the autumn 1998 economic crisis, %

Around 50% of respondents mentioned the falling of personal incomes, making it the second biggest problem. The third biggest problem was the appearance of deficits, which was mentioned by one third of respondents. People also noticed such inseparable features of a market socialism, as rationing (25%) and even the introduction of consumer cards and other means to limit buying (over 7%).

Against this background, the worries of respondents over their financial security are understandable. 67.8% of people, who answered the questionnaire said this troubled them most. Even health issues are a worry for fewer people (63.0% – second biggest problem) and crime for 33.6% (third biggest problem). Young people are troubled by the same things – the figures for them are 66.2%, 56.3% and 28.2% respectively.

It is clear that people are not content with such a life, especially those who traveled to countries, “where capitalism rots away”. The answers to the question, what should life in Belarus be like serve as an indicator. Germany, which lost the World War II, is first! The winners of the war and their children envy the Germans. Probably they did not make proper use of their victory.