Which affect have the recent “gas wars” with Russia had on Belarusians?
Well, despite of all propaganda efforts, only 25,7% (one third of Belarusians) believe that Moscow is actually responsible for the conflicts over energy supplies. 18,4% of Belarusians blame their own leadership. One half is confident, that both Russian and Belarusian governments are similarly guilty.
There is another interesting point. In winter, during the "gas war" with Russia, the absolute majority of Belarusians concluded that Lukashenka showed himself as a strong politician. However, after the crisis in August (with Russia holding up the decision on providing a major money loan to Belarus) the masses appear to be very far from clapping their hands.
Only 14,7% believe that the conflicts with Moscow have raised public trust in the Belarusian president. 37,8% have an opposite opinion. The intuition doesn’t fool the poll’s respondents – the rate of support of Lukashenka has indeed slumped.
Finally, here’s the last portion of numbers (I don’t want to overload our honorable readers with information). If, hypothetically, the referendum on uniting Belarus with Russia had taken place today, only 33.8% would vote in favor of the union, while the majority, 47.4% of Belarusians, would vote against it.
Surely, I understand, that our impatient independence champions would still say the last figure is too small. Still, the number of opponents of the “brotherly fusion” has never been so large.
You should also bear in mind, that there is a major jumble in the minds of the integration supporters. Many of these people seem to believe that it is possible to remain with one foot in the empire, and with another one in the independent state. However, when asked to make a tough choice, only about 10% of people answer that Belarus “should merge into one state with Russia, than all energy problems will be solved”.
Let me summarize this information. Thanks God, the “brotherly integration” madness is fading away. Russia is much less appealing for the traditionally East-oriented public. This is also partially due to the official propaganda efforts, which created the highly unsympathetic image of our Eastern neighbor (disintegration, decay, insatiable oligarchs, and – can you believe that! – the Putin’s personality cult). Of course, the ultimate goal of the propaganda was to present Belarusian authorities as noble fighters against the treacherous Kremlin and the fat cats from “Gazprom”.
The electorate, however, is more and more likely to criticize both official Minsk and Moscow. Usually, such position is very difficult to be changed.