This piece opens a series of analytical articles based on a national representative public opinion survey on the attitude of Belarusians to reforms, social contract, foreign policy, gender-related issues, civil society, media and the role of the state. The poll was conducted in August-September 2019.
- Most Belarusians of all ages rely on themselves and not on the state in matters of wellbeing, education, health, and employment.
- Three quarters of Belarusians believe that they cannot influence the decisions of local authorities. 80% do not feel that they can affect the policy of supreme government bodies.
- More than half of Belarusians want reforms, and only a little more than 20% oppose reforms. Two out of three supporters of reforms prefer the state to decrease its role in the economy. The share of these “pro-market” respondents has been growing steadily in recent years.
- Most Belarusians are ready to tolerate the potentially negative consequences of reforms within 5-7 years, especially if reforms create prospects for a better life for their children and for themselves. Political values (such as the European path of development or the independence of the country) motivate only a small part of society.
- Out of all potential negative consequences of reforms, most respondents fear price increases, unemployment, and declining living standard and income the most. Fears about inequality or political chaos in Belarusian society are not common.