IISEPS News, N 2 (80), 2016

Bulletin “IISEPS News” – ISSN 1822-556Х (ONLINE)
№ 2 (80) 2016 г.




June – 2016

Passive Adaptation To Crisis Has Its Limit
Price Hike Still Out Of Competition
To Live To The Retirement Age
One More Threat For Collective Identity
Stagnation At The Nook Of Stability
Global Trend
Two Shows
Voting, Caring, Discussing
The State Is Affected By Those Who Are Close To The First Person
Clinton-Trump: Belarusian Choice
“I Went Off To Fight With A Gun And A Pack…”
If The War Starts Tomorrow
What Belarusians Think Of America
Friends And Foes Of Belarus

Some results of the opinion poll conducted in June 2016


Putin’s Indestructible Popularity
Saving as Survival Strategy
Geopolitical Preferences of Ukrainians Remain Stable
Paradoxes of G20


Dear readers!

We have an anniversary — we offer to your attention the 80th issue of the analytical bulletin “IISEPS News”, containing materials reflecting the most interesting results of the Institute researches in the second quarter of 2016. It is hard to believe that in the harsh political climate of Belarus, despite “frost and heat”, every three months in the course of these difficult 20 years our readers (including our friends and enemies, Belarusians and foreigners, experienced professionals and people far from politics and science) have been receiving a publication, which has no equivalents in the country.

Our research studies demonstrate that in general financial well-being of Belarusians has slightly improved, although it is still unstable. Average per capita income (including salaries, pensions, social benefits and other incomes) increased from $ 147 in March up to $ 170 in June. However, over 80% of respondents still believe that Belarusian economy is in crisis. Major part of respondents is convinced that the reasons for this crisis are internal. Among the most acute problems facing the country and its citizens are price hike, unemployment, impoverishment of people, and production decline. Evaluating Alexander Lukashenko’s decree increasing retirement age, over 70% of respondents believe that it shouldn’t have been increased as “most people won’t live long enough” to receive pensions at all. As for his recent statement that “Amid the current troubled situation Belarus is rightly considered as a nook of stability”, only one third of respondents agreed with it. Over a half of respondents consider that “our stability is closer to stagnation, and there is no development in the country”. According to most respondents, citizens of all neighboring countries (except Ukraine which is currently at war) enjoy higher standards of life in comparison with Belarus.

Belarusians’ attitude to state institutions remains quite critical in general. Today the number of respondents who don’t trust the main state institutions is still higher than the number of those who trust them. Majority of Belarusians hold the President responsible for the current economic crisis. Most of respondents disagreed with the main thesis of the Spring Message of Alexander Lukashenko to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly. Belarusians grow more and more critical of changes in the social structure of society happening under the influence of state policy: the role of power agents becomes more important, and the role of cultural/scientific elite and common people constantly diminishes. Ten years ago 37% of respondents believed that Lukashenko relies mostly on the presidential hierarchy line, today this share amounts to 55% (state officials – 20 % vs. 32% accordingly; cultural and scientific elite – 8% vs. 4%; retired people – 41% vs. 22%; rural men – 30% vs. 12%; common people – 34% vs. 8%). That is why less than 30% of respondents agree that “it is my state, it protects my interests”.

The desire for changes in the Belarusian society doesn’t decrease. Ten years ago most of respondents considered that maintaining of the current situation was more important for them, today majority of them support changes. Growing dissatisfaction with the policy of the power and the opposition is visible in the way people assess the most important political events of both sides – the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly in June and the Congress of Democratic Forces in May. Majority of respondents considers these events as “shows for the people”, but one of the shows is performed by the power, and the other one by opposition. Elections and referendums remain the most realistic and desirable variant of changes for the majority of Belarusians. Today almost 52% of respondents are ready to vote in parliamentary elections on September 11. The share of respondents who would support candidates opposing to Lukashenko is even slightly bigger than the share of those who would prefer the head of state’s supporters. At the same time most of respondents believe that results of these elections don’t depend on their votes.

The “pendulum” of geopolitical orientations of Belarusians continues its swing towards the European end. The number of those who would prefer Russia in a hypothetic choice between either joining the EU or integrating Russia has significantly decreased. Accordingly, the number of those who would prefer the EU has increased. Our research demonstrates that there is no deep aggressive anti-Americanism in Belarus as compared to Russia. Geopolitical orientations of Belarusians are expressed best when there is a question on a real or hypothetical situation of an armed conflict. Majority of respondents don’t support either Russia or NATO in the arms buildup in the region. But if such a conflict happened, most of respondents would “try not to support either side”. “It’s not my funeral” principle is also observed in the relation to the armed conflict in Ukraine: more than 70% of respondents express negative attitude towards participation of Belarusian citizens in the armed conflict in Ukraine both on the side of the Ukrainian army and on the side of armed protesters.

As usual, those readers who are more interested in our figures than in our assessments can analyze the research results on their own. The results are presented as a plain count up according to the main socio-demographic characteristics.

In our “Open Forum” rubric we continue to present the most interesting results of the latest surveys of our colleagues from neighboring countries.

As usual, your feedback and comments are welcome!