Despite the seemingly successful assimilation of market-related social practices (e.g. those related to consummation), Belarusian society in XXI century kept its class-based nature. The term “fairness” is the basis term in class societies. In particular, allocation of resources is considered fair when it corresponds to the ranking in the class hierarchy.

We’ve noted earlier that from the point of view of social opinion Alexander Lukashenko mainly relies on the presidential hierarchy line (54.4%), security agencies (47.1) and state officials (17.4%).

This hierarchy of “pivots” is quite in accord with the hierarchy of answers to the question “How do you evaluate material position of the following groups of population in Belarus?” (table 1).  The familiar service class people take leadership in the rank. It’s logical if you take into account that in class-based societies resources are allocated under the principle “From each according to his ability, to each according to his work”. In the framework of this logic the last to receive material goods are pensioners, rural and common people.

Table 1. Distribution of answers to the question “How do you evaluate material position of the following groups of population in Belarus?”*, %

Variant of answer Good Average Bad
Presidential hierarchy line 82.3 14.7 2.7
State officials 71.3 24.4 3.9
Directors of large enterprises 64.9 29.3 5.5
The military, the CIA, the KGB 52.0 39.2 8.4
Businessmen 47.5 37.7 14.5
Cultural and scientific elite 26.1 51.3 22.2
Specialists 17.4 56.3 25.9
Pensioners 7.2 39.0 53.6
Rural people 6.2 46.1 47.3
Common people 6.2 41.7 51.7

* The table is sorted by the first column

In June 1996 the rating of material position was headed by businessmen (85.3%), presidential hierarchy line (80.3%) and directors of state enterprises (77.9%). Over two decades the hierarchy line kept its leading position, while businessmen’s rating dropped by 37.8 points (!), and that of directors of state enterprises – by 13.

These dynamics have an explanation. The middle of the nineties is the time when it seemed that social administrative system (Soviet class system) was being replaced by capitalistic system, where businessmen and directors of large enterprises will take the leading role. However, these expectations failed to come true. The state, debilitated by perestroika, rose from the ashes like a phoenix, and state functionaries won back their privileged position in the hierarchy.

Answering the question of table 1, respondents proceeded from their perception of real distribution of material wealth between the classes. Let us remind you, that the real distribution is carried out by the power in its own interest. Table 2 demonstrates the desired distribution from the point of view of respondents, i.e. common people. Naturally, the distribution of evaluations is mirror-like: those who are well-paid don’t deserve it, and vice versa.

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question “Does the life of the following groups of population corresponds to their contribution to society?”*, %

Variant of answer They live better than they deserve to They live just like they deserve to They live worse than they deserve to
Presidential hierarchy line 73.2 23.3 3.4
State officials 61.9 31.9 6.1
Directors of large enterprises 48.8 41.8 9.2
The military, the CIA, the KGB 31.8 54.3 13.8
Businessmen 30.0 52.3 17.4
Cultural and scientific elite 13.2 57.4 29.3
Specialists 8.3 54.0 37.5
Common people 5.6 37.2 56.9
Rural people 4.6 45.1 50.2
Pensioners 3.3 28.3 68.3

* The table is sorted by the first column

The differences in evaluations of classes according to material criterion may be 20-fold and higher. Such a significant difference is not registered in the evaluations of “respect” towards different classes (table 3). The familiar dependency from tables 1-2 is absent as well.

Table 3. Distribution of answers to the question “Are the following groups of population respected in society?”*, %

Variant of answer They are highly respected They enjoy certain respect They are not respected
Rural people 8.3 60.8 30.7
Common people 5.7 64.5 29.5
State officials 15.8 56.4 27.6
Presidential hierarchy line 18.8 55.3 25.7
Businessmen 12.2 67.0 20.4
Pensioners 13.3 64.8 21.7
The military, the CIA, the KGB 24.3 56.7 18.7
Directors of large enterprises 20.6 65.6 13.4
Specialists 14.5 72.4 12.8
Cultural and scientific elite 18.5 68.7 12.6

* The table is sorted by the last column

In the upshot we have a country where there are no respected social groups. Representatives of security agencies are leading here with a small advantage. This hierarchy of social respect leaves little chance for a successful economic development in times of globalization.

The lack of authority doesn’t mean that there is no impact on people’s lives. Judging by the last column, the impact directly depends on closeness to the first person of the state. Presidential hierarchy line is naturally out of competition (46.7%), and common people are on the opposite end of the scale.

Table 4. Distribution of answers to the question “Which impact do the following groups of population have over the life of people?”*, %

Variant of answer No impact Average impact Great impact
Presidential hierarchy line 14.9 38.2 46.7
State officials 21.2 44.4 34.0
The military, the CIA, the KGB 23.4 47.3 29.2
Directors of large enterprises 23.6 51.3 24.9
Cultural and scientific elite 34.2 50.7 14.6
Specialists 34.2 51.1 14.2
Businessmen 35.3 52.0 12.4
Rural people 48.0 39.6 12.3
Common people 58.8 34.9 6.0
Пенсионеры 59.5 35.1 5.1

* The table is sorted by the last column

Twenty years ago presidential hierarchy line was out of competition as well (39.9%), but the second place was taken by journalists (31.1%) – above the security forces and directors of large enterprises. In 2016 journalists weren’t included in the questionnaire, and this fact reflects the change of impact of the “fourth power” in the “state for the people”.

Allocation of resources is the substance of social life in a class-based society. Classes, responsible for allocation, are naturally privileged. Such a system can maintain stability over decades, but it is unable to reproduce itself widely, and this is registered in practice.