Table 1 data are a visual demonstration of how public opinion’ evaluations of problems, which the country and its citizens face, change. Traditionally, the first position is taken by the “price hike”. This time it has a record high value – 84.1%. Only in 2006, at the peak of evolution of Belarusian model, this problem was mentioned by 80% respondents.

Table 1. Dynamics of answering the question: “Which are the most important issues that our country and people face today?”, % (more than one answer is possible)*

Variant of answer 06’99 06’06 12’08 06’14 03’15
Price hike 82.7 60.1 82.5 80.0 84.1
Impoverishment of people 73.2 19.5 37.8 41.9 46.8
Production decline 31.8 18.7 31.7 35.1 50.3
Unemployment 35.7 37.0 35.7 25.2 47.2
Corruption, bribery 29.7 27.6 26.0 23.8 23.1
Fall in population 21.9 14.9 16.9 8.6
Human rights infringement 23.3 22.1 20.1 16.0 22.9
Lack of law and order 24.6 22.1 20.6 15.8 15.0
Threat from the West 9.3 18.2 13.0 15.4 19.6
Decline of national culture 13.1 10.8 8.1 13.2 9.5
Overcoming the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster 29.5 25.5 10.6 11.8 9.7
Criminality 44.6 23.2 20.8 11.6 17.4
International isolation of Belarus 9.1 14.4 9.8 11.0 11.1
Split of society 5.0 7.3 4.0 10.6 6.7
Threat of Belarus losing its independency 8.3 5.2 9.5 5.7

* Table is ranged by the first column

The exceptionality of the year 2006 in the modern history of Belarus may be seen in majority of “nominations” of Table 1. In particular, in March 2015 the share of respondents who mentioned “impoverishment of people” was 2.4 times as high as in 2006, the difference for “production decline” is 2.7-fold. This “nomination” became the absolute leader in dynamics, and for the first time it has taken the second place in the list. This may be regarded as another dig at I. Medvedeva, the chairperson of National Statistical Committee.

“Unemployment” has also gained noticeably, and made its local maximum – 47.2%. This is somewhat of a greeting to the authors of the law about “social parasites”. If under the conditions of a significant aggravation of unemployment problem (probably, this is just a beginning) the state tries to bring their social innovation into practice, the consequences may be quite unexpected.

Unemployment is seen as a problem in the first place by those Belarusians, who negatively evaluate the prospect of changing of the social-economical situation in Belarus in the near future – 57.6% (which is by 10.4 points higher than in average). There is nothing surprising about it. Among those, who don’t cherish hopes about the near future of Belarusian model, prevail financially active people, i.e. young and educated. In the age group between 18 and 29 this share amounts to 40.9%, while in the age group after 60 years old the share is only 17.7%; among respondents with primary education – 10.8%, with higher education – 40.7%.

“Overcoming of the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster” is once and for all pushed out to the periphery of mass consciousness (9.7%). Current economic issues diminished acuteness of “population decline” (8.6%) and “decline of national culture” (9.5%).

Increase of the share of respondents, who mentioned “threat from the West”, was expected amid the anti-West hysteria on Russian TV (19.6%). We cannot say the same thing about “threat of Belarus losing its independency” (5.7%).

According to Belstat, in 2014 the share of households with average accommodate resources per capita below poverty level amounted to 3.4%, in 2013 – to 4%.

In June 1995 26.6% of Belarusians considered themselves poor, in June 2009 – 6%. This may undoubtedly be regarded as a success of Belarusian model on the initial stage of its functioning.

In March 2015 variants of answers to the question “How would you define your financial standing?” were changed, and this doesn’t permit us to compare the answers from past years with the current ones. Nevertheless, the share of Belarusians, who estimate their financial standing as “below average/very low”, turned out to be 9.5 times as high as the share of those who estimate their financial standing as “above average/very high” (Table 2).

Table 2. Distribution of answers to the question: “How would you define your financial standing?” depending on the attitude to A. Lukashenko, %

Variant of answer All respondents Attitude to A. Lukashenko
Trust Don’t trust
Very low 9.1 5.4 13.6
Below the average 36.5 26.4 48.0
Average 49.6 62.1 35.9
Above the average 4.6 6.0 2.5
Very high 0.2 0.1 0

There is no notable difference in estimations of financial position between men and women. In particular, “very low financial standing” was chosen by 9.8% of men and 8.6% of women. Education of respondents doesn’t influence the perception of financial standing as well: primary – 7.4%, higher – 8.4%.

Political preferences of Belarusians (their attitude to A. Lukashenko) on the contrary are an important factor of financial standing perception. Pay attention to the row “Average”: it testifies on the wish to feel “like everyone” (to belong to the “majority”) among the supporters of the head of state.

Graph 1 data permit us to evaluate the prospect of changes in answers to the question of Table 2 from the point of view of public opinion. The share of pessimists, supposing that incomes will lag behind prices, is 13.5 times as high as the share of optimists! And if this mass presentiment comes true, this will mean a growth of poverty level in Belarus.

In the first column of Table 3 you may see the results of a survey conducted 21 years ago. The difference is significant. However, we will venture to affirm that current negative trends in Belarusian economy shouldn’t be regarded as temporary. Belarusian model has exhausted its resource, and thus a return to the situation from the beginning of nineties is possible in the medium-term prospect.