It has become common for organizations to track fluctuations in the geopolitical orientations of Belarusians – in particular, who supports a closer relationship with EU and who supports a closer relationship with Russia. Upon closer analysis however, this US-Russia dichotomy becomes obviously artificial, as people do not want to make such a binary choice. They rather prefer independence. At the same time, Belarusians do not travel much, and two-thirds of our fellow citizens do not speak foreign languages.
This piece continues the series of analytical articles based on the national representative 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 do not want to choose between Russia and the European Union and support the independent path of development of the country.
- In Belarusians’ opinion, Russia leads the ranking of friendly countries, followed by Ukraine, China, Kazakhstan and Poland.
- In the ranking of external risks, global problems and threats come first, before the events of the region around Belarus. The vast majority of Belarusians do not fear attacks from either Russia or NATO.
- Only a minority of Belarusians travel outside the country more often than once a year. With rising incomes, people begin to travel more often and value this opportunity more.