62% of Belarusians Want Changes in the Country, IISEPS

06.07.2010 13:39
Архив Редакция

62% of Belarusians believe that Belarus needs changes and 25.4% of citizens have an opposite point of view. This is evidenced by the results of a poll conducted in June 2010 by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS).

However, among the supporters of changes there are both opponents and supporters of current authorities, for whom the changes are improvement of current regime. Furthermore, only 46.8% of respondents would really like to change something, 24% reacted negatively, and 17.3% were indifferent. Moreover, 62.5% of respondents believe that changes in Belarusian politics are impossible or hardly possible, IISEPS informs.

According to the poll, the majority of Belarusians are not sure that after the retirement of Alexander Lukashenko from the post of the president their life will become better (25.2% suppose that the it will get worse, 34.8% — will not change), and only 22.4% of those surveyed think that it will become better. In this regard, the rating of current president remains stable, and on the background of «gas war» with Russia it has even grown up from 42.7% to 45.6%.

There also increased the ratings of his main rivals: Alexander Milinkevich from 4.7% to 5.4% and Alexander Kozulin from 2.7% to 4.4%. The ratings of other contenders for presidency, remain within the statistical error. As evidenced by the poll, «Tell the truth» civil campaign is still not really known, only 12.5% of respondents are aware of it, while 5.1% have positive attitude to it.

Joining the EU closer to Belarusians than union with Russia

According to the survey, in the traditional geopolitical choice between Russia and the European Union the Belarusians give their preferences to the last one: 38.9% of respondents are in favor of the union with the EU and 37.7% are for alliance with Russia (in March, the figures were 40.4% and 41.4% respectively).

To the surprise of researchers, the opinion of the majority of Belarusians on the events in Kyrgyzstan does not coincide with the official position of authorities. Thus, only 23.2% of respondents agree with Alexander Lukashenko, that displacement of Kurmanbek Bakiyev is anti-constitutional coup. 47.2% believe that it was popular uprising against the corrupt government. Also, only 17.9% named as correct the decision to grant asylum to the Kyrgyz president in Belarus, 24.1% consider it wrong, because Kurmanbek Bakiyev was overthrown by fair popular uprising, 40,6% believe that it was wrong because Belarus should not get involved in political conflicts in Kyrgyzstan.

As a result, 11% of respondents think that president Kurmanbek Bakiyev should not be extradited, as he defended the legitimate authority, 20.1%  — should not be extradited, as Belarus has granted him an asylum, 17.5% — should be extradited, because the murder must be punished, 34.2% — should be extradited, because the internal conflict in Kyrgyzstan is not Belarus’ matter. At the same time, only 9.1% of respondents believe that Belarusian authorities can be displaced by the Kyrgyz scenario.

The Belarusians’ attitude to authorities remains ambiguous

The Belarusians’ attitude to authorities continues to be ambiguous. If supreme government institutions (president, army, government) have a positive rating of confidence, then local executive committees, police and others have negative. Half of the respondents «definitely or probably do not feel protected from possible lawlessness  of authorities, police, traffic police, tax authorities, courts and other government bodies». 41% of respondents rely on police, and 48.6% do not believe in it, 19.1% of citizens consider that it copes well with its responsibilities, but 26.9% suppose that it works badly. At the same time, representatives of opposition or private businesses often complain about unreasonable or excessive use of force (15.1%) or extortion (7,0%), while ordinary citizens usually face with reluctance to respond to the complaint, refusal to accept an application (24.8 %).

Survey data on participation of citizens in April elections to local councils significantly differ from the official Thus, according to the CEC, the turnout was 79.5% of voters, but, according to the survey it is 64.6%. 27% of respondents voted earlier and more than half for the candidate, supporter of Alexander Lukashenko. 6.7% of the respondents said that there were a pressure on them during the voting, 30% of voters believe that not every candidate had equal conditions, the same figure suppose that in their district authorities supported a particular candidate, about a quarter — that a candidate, they voted for, did not become a deputy. However, about 20% do not trust to announced election results, while 35% do not even know them. Nevertheless, in general, the poll «shows quite loyal citizens’ attitude to this election campaign», noted in IISEPS.

The economic crisis continues to worry the Belarusians

Among the national fears, consequences of economic crisis continue to take confidently the second and third place: nearly 46% of the Belarusians fear of «poverty», about a third — «to lose the job». The first place among the fears is traditionally taken by «the loss of health». However, the fear of crisis is gradually reducing. Thus, in March the number of people who believe that their financial situation has worsened over the past three months, is more than three times bigger then the number of those whose situation has improved, and in June — less than in a half (19.7% to 13.9 %). The number of respondents expecting the deepening of crisis and growth of problems decreased from 25.6% to 17.1%.  The number of people who believe that the country has begun to emerge from the crisis has increased by 8.7% to 35.3%.

The experts note that general assessment of the situation in the country remains at the same «guardedly optimistic» level: half of respondents think that  in general the situation is developing in right direction, and a third — in wrong. However, asked the question «What is more important — improving of economic situation in Belarus or independence of the country?», the first answer was chosen by 62,3%, the second — by 30,4%.