(were interviewed 1.502 persons aged 18 and over, margin of error doesn’t exceed 0.03)

1. In the third quarter financial well-being of Belarusians became worse once again:


  • Thus, the number of people whose financial position became worse jumped from 37.2% in June up to 42.5% in September. The number of those, whose financial position became better, remained at the same level (10%), and the number of those, who answered “didn’t change”, dropped from 51.3% down to 44.4%. Average income per family member (including salaries, pensions, social benefits and other incomes) significantly decreased: from $240 in June down to $200 in September (a year ago it amounted to $288). Number of respondents considering that Belarusian economy is in crisis increased from 72% to 75.1%. Anxiety about the future is not going away: 20.6% of respondents expect an improvement of social and financial situation in the country in the next few years, while 36.2% of respondents expect an aggravation of the situation (37.2% think that nothing will change).


  • 57.5% of respondents support market reforms in Belarus. The number of those who think that majority can live without state care amounts to 31.5% (18.3% in March 2009); however, those who share the opposite opinion are still a majority – 58.7% (74.7% in March 2009). Probably, this is why 53.5% of Belarusians express positive attitude when Russia provides another loan to Belarus, thinking that “Belarusian economy cannot efficiently grow without financial help from Russia”. Only 25.6% express negative attitude considering that “Belarus becomes more and more financially dependent on Russian oligarchic capital”. Attitude of respondents to the negotiations with International Monetary Fund regarding a credit, which would be provided only after structural reforms, was divided into two equal parts: 36.3% express positive attitude saying that “Belarusian economy need reforms”, and 36.8% express negative attitude, saying that “Belarus will be financially dependent on the western capital” (16.7% don’t care about this at all).


2. Belarusians’ attitude to the state power remains rather skeptical in general:


  • Thus, indices of trust to almost all state institutions except the President remain negative. The number of those, who consider that political life in Belarus is evolving into democracy, decreased from 30% in June 2014 down to 26.8%. Majority of respondents still talk about “reinstallation of past Soviet order” (22%), “formation of authoritarianism, dictatorship” (21.8%). 13.1% of respondents even mention “intensification of chaos, anarchy, a threat of coup d’?tat” (10.6% in June 2014). Assessing the recent “On battling corruption” law, only 37.8% of respondents believe that it will advance the battle with this evil. 34.2% of respondents think that it won’t influence the level of corruption at all. 22.3% think that “the authors of the bill never planned to battle corruption, this is just propaganda, and the level of corruption will only increase”. The number of respondents who blame Belarusian powers and the president for the crisis significantly decreased (34.1% vs. 45% in December 2013 for the President, 14% vs. 19.6% for the government). The number of those who blame external forces increased: 21.5% (11.8% in December 2013) think that Europe is to blame for the crisis; 10.7% (6.6%) blame Russia. Almost half of respondents consider that in general the state of things in our country is developing in the wrong direction, and only a third of respondents think that the direction is right.


  • However, readiness for changes is still low. For example, the number of those for whom “maintaining of current situation is more important” amounts to 33.3% today while half a year ago it amounted to 32.6%. At the same time the number of those who think that “changing of current situation is more important” decreased from 56.5% down to 52.7%. Only 17% of respondents gave a positive answer to the question “If there are protests against the worsening of financial standing in your city (region), are you ready to take part in them?” (in March 2014 this share amounted to 22.9%). Trust rating of oppositional parties hardly exceeds 13% (half a year ago it was 18.8%).


3. Belarusians’ attitude to the state power and its opponents is best seen through the frame of the main political event of the year: presidential election campaignr:


  • As it was already noted in our analytical materials, majority of those, who want changes, link them to elections. Over 72.5% of respondents express their readiness to vote on presidential elections (36.2% “yes, sure”, 36.3 “rather yes”, 16% “rather no”, 7.8 “sure no”). This share hasn’t almost changed compared to the spring and summer of the current year. The idea of boycotting the elections is evaluated positively by 15.5% of respondents, negatively by 27.4%, indifferently by 25.1%. 26.9% of respondents never heard about this idea. Before the previous elections these figures were basically the same. According to all post-election IISEPS surveys the turnout was higher than it was expected before the elections, so we can suppose that the turnout on the 11th of October will definitely exceed the barrier of 50% of electors.


  • Just like during the presidential campaigns of 2006 and 2010, the most important problems, which people take into account while deciding for whom they will vote, are the overall quality of life (37%), price hike (30%), and jobs (over 20%). However, according to 47.6% of respondents, the most important problem is peace and stability. Before the Ukrainian events this wasn’t important for majority of electors, so this variant of answer wasn’t included in our surveys. For comparison: during 2006 campaign 21.5% of respondents named democracy and independence of Belarus as the most important problem; in 2010 this share amounted to 17.5%; today – 15.5%. The profile of the desired president has also changed. Shortly before the 2010 elections 42% of respondents thought that the president to come “should support the current course”, while 34.6% wanted the president “to support cardinal changes”. Today the former share dropped down to 37.4%, and the latter increased up to 40%. Five years ago 32.2% of respondents considered that the president to come “should support the strengthening of presidential power”, and 33.6% of respondents – “separation of powers”. Today this ratio is 30.3% vs. 37.5%. At the same time the expectations that the President will develop market economy decreased over 5 years: from 47.7% down to 43.1%. The expectations about state-planned economy increased on the contrary: from 19.9% up to 22.9%. In 2010 only 29.1% wanted the president to support further integration with Russia and 30.6% wanted further rapprochement with the EU; today this ratio is 45.6% vs. 23.3%.


  • As expected, the closer the elections are, the higher the rating of the current president is: today 45.7% of respondents are ready to vote for him, both according to an open and closed question (38.6% in June; shortly before the elections 2010 the figures were 48.2% and 44%). Trust rating is on the same level as in June: 47% trust the President, while 37.1% don’t. Almost 30% of respondents based their choice on assumption that “he has real power and can improve the situation in the country”; 20% say that “he expresses interests of people like me”, 15% – “I like this politician for a long time” (in 2001 the figures were 23%, 26.9%, and 9.5% accordingly). The shares of respondents who are ready to vote for alternative candidates today according to closed and open questions are as follows: for Tatyana Korotkevich, the candidate from the “People’s Referendum” campaign – 17.9% and 7.2%; for Sergei Gaydukevich, the leader of the Liberal Democrat Party – 11.4% and 4.7%; for Nikolai Ulakhovich, the ataman of Belarusian Cossacks – 3.6% and 1.5%. As for the “opposition outside elections” (respondents who chose oppositional politicians in the open question), their total electorate doesn’t exceed 8%. N. Statkevich received maximal number of votes (3.5%); others received 1% or less. Real results depend on the turnout, so a simple calculation demonstrates that if 72.5% respondents who declared their readiness to vote will indeed vote, 45.7% of votes in favor of A. Lukashenko will turn into 64%, and 17.9% of votes for T. Korotkevich – into 25%. And if, according to “the law of social gravitation” (analogy with the law of universal gravitation which states that any two bodies in the universe attract each other with a force that is directly proportional to the product of their masses), the share of those, who haven’t taken their decision yet, joins those who will vote, extrapolation of these results on the turnout of 80% gives us the following results: 56% for the current president, 22% for T. Korotkevich. However, if the turnout is lower that the declared turnout (for example 60%) A. Lukashenko will receive significantly more votes that 64%, because his electorate is consolidated as much as possible. On the contrary, T. Korotkevich will receive significantly less than 25%, because her electorate is mostly inclined to ignore the elections. The damage of opposition’s inability for consolidation is best seen in the answers to the question “If you knew a person who could successfully compete with A. Lukashenko in the next presidential elections, would you vote for him or for A. Lukaskenko?” 38.7% would vote for such candidate, 32.3% would vote for A. Lukashenko, and 28.1% of respondents “don’t know, would decide depending on the circumstances”.


  • Statements of certain politicians and experts that majority of Belarusians are indifferent to the electoral campaign don’t square with reality. Majority of electors have a fixed opinion. Thus, 75.6% of respondents think that the President will be chosen in the first ballot, and only 10.8% of respondents think that the second ballot will be required (in 2001 the ratio was 47% vs. 25.9%, in 2006 – 50.2% vs. 34.1%, in 2010 – 63.3% vs. 17.1%). 57.6% of respondents agree with the opinion that the results of the elections are predestined, 28.8% disagree. 47.6% of respondents think that the elections will be free and fair, 34.4% disagree with this (the ratios in 2001 and 2010 were almost the same). At the same time only 34.6% of respondents believe that all candidates have equal conditions in the presidential campaign, while 48.9% disagree with this (41.6% vs. 46.3% in 2010). Only 43% of respondents think that they have enough information about the candidates to make their choice with certainty, while 56.7% don’t share this point of view (65.4% vs. 23.8% in 2001). 32.4% of respondents received informational materials of some of the candidates or even met and had discussions with their representatives, while it never happened for 67.2% (47.1% vs. 50.8% in 2006). Less than 40% of electors today consider that the CEC is an “unbiased organization, guided only by the law”, while half of respondents believe that it is “an organization mostly guided by instructions of the President” (41% vs. 47.1% in 2010). Half of respondents think that official results of elections would be trustworthy, while a third of respondents won’t believe these results (52.4% vs. 30.1% in 2010). Answering the question “If you believe that the results of presidential elections would be falsified, how would you react to this?” 48.6% of respondents chose the answer “I will accept them because it will be impossible to change them”, 10.1% – “I’ll take part in mass protests to try to change these results”, 26.4% – “I won’t believe these results and will be very upset, but I won’t take part in mass protests” (in 2010 these shares were 40.5%, 10.9% and 24.1% accordingly). Half of respondents think that these elections will be recognized by the international community, 31.4% think that they will be recognized by Russia, but not by the West, and only 8.2% believe that they won’t be recognized either by Russia or by the West (43.9%, 9.8% and 21.8% in 2010).


4. Isolationist moods still prevail in foreign-policy orientations of Belarusians:


  • The share of “Euro-Belarusians” slightly decreased: on a hypothetic referendum on joining the European Union 27.5% of respondents would vote “for” and 51.9% would vote “against” (in June the share was 25.1% vs. 51%). At the same time, the share of “Belo-Russians” slightly increased. On a referendum about integration of Belarus and Russia 32.6% of respondents would vote “for” and 49.1% of respondents would vote “against” (in June it was 28.3% vs. 50.9%). In the answers to the “either… or”-question in June 51.4% of respondents were for integration with Russia and 31.4% for joining the EU, today the ratio is 52.7% vs. 26.4%. According to 28.1% of respondents the Western countries are treated with respect or sympathy in Belarus, 21.1% – with concern, 15.1% – with disregard or fear, 32.8% – with no special feelings. 43.2% express very/rather good attitude towards the US, 42.2% – very/rather bad (according to Levada-center, this ratio in Russia is 21% vs. 68%). However, only 9.9% of respondents assess relations with the US as good/friendly, 29.5% – as normal, 55% – as cold/strained/hostile. According to 32% of respondents, the US poses a threat for Belarus, while 60.4% don’t think so (59% vs. 32% in Russia). If there is a war between the Union State of Russia and Belarus, and the US and NATO countries, the Union State would win it according to 20.8% of respondents. 19.4% think that the US and NATO countries would win such a war. 47.7% think that there would be no winners in such a war. (In Russia the ratio is 33%, 5% and 52%.) In the documentary film “Crimea: The Way Home” Vladimir Putin told that during the Crimea operation he gave an order to be ready to use nuclear weapon. Evaluating this statement 35.1% of respondents said that they “approve it, because it is the only way to talk to the West: the West only understands when they are addressed from the position of strength”. 47.8% of respondents felt “alarm and disapproval: such blackmail is unacceptable for a leader of his rank (50% vs. 27% in Russia). It should also be noted that the most pro-European electorate supports T. Korotkevich, and the most pro-Russian – A. Lukashenko.


  • The idea of “the Russian world”, which V. Putin used to justify the annexation of Crimea, is regarded positively by 35.4% of Belarusians, 41.4% are indifferent and 15.9% are negative about it (June’s shares were 38.9%, 39.4% and 15.2%). Evaluating the accession of Armenia and Kyrgyzstan to the Eurasian Economic Union in 2015, 55.3% of respondents said that it reinforced the union, expanded the shared market and increased the political weight of the union. 32.6% of respondents think that poor countries were added, and other participants of the union would be obliged to help them.


  • Ukrainian-Russian crisis still remains one of the most important factors influencing these changes in foreign-policy orientations of Belarusians. Although the sympathies of the majority of Belarusians are still with Russia, the level of support has slightly decreased. Thus, 57.4% of respondents evaluated the annexation of Crimea by Russia as “a restitution of Russian lands and reestablishment of historical justice”, while the share of those who think that it was “an imperialistic usurpation and occupation” amounts to 26.5% (in June the ratio was 62.3% vs. 21.5%). 47.1% of respondents support the independence of Novorossiya and consider that “its people have a right for self-determination”, 28.1% of respondents support territorial integrity of Ukraine, while 12% consider that “there is no Novorossiya, there is just a Russian aggression against Ukraine” (47.4%, 27%, 10.5% in March).