Civil Society Potential, Media Barometer - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Source: kef.research.by

To be successful, reforms need a strong political leader. A Belief in Wide Discussions and Consensus is a Myth – says Ivan Mikloš, a Slovak politician "father of the Slovak reforms", who will participate in the upcoming Kastryčnicky Economic Forum, Minsk.

The potential for solidarity in the Belarusian society is vanishing – according to the results of the research conducted by the Centre for European Transformation and the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies.

The awareness of civil society organisations in Belarus has risen over the last years - Pact releases findings from a national survey conducted by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies.

Belarusian Civil Society

Polling Memo: Stable Society? CSO Awareness has Risen, Participation Remains Low - For the second consecutive year, Pact releases findings from a national survey conducted by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS). According to survey results, the number of Belarusians who are aware of CSOs has stabilised at around 50% in 2014-2015, which is almost 20% more than in 2013. At the same time, the level of Belarusians’ trust in CSOs dropped from 37.7% last year to 32.2% in 2015. The level of citizen participation in public activities remain low – around 20%. Explore the full text of the polling memo in English. Russian-language version is also available.

Potential of Solidarity of the Belarusian society is vanishing – This is a key finding of the fresh study conducted by the Centre for European Transformation (CET) and the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS). The study is a continuation and development of the 2014 research on the potential for solidarity among CSOs. Belarusian society turned out to be even more amorphous, divided and atomised than the civil society.

Amplituda TUT.BY: Belarusian Society has Outgrown the Politicians who Represent it? – The Belarusian society has outgrown the politicians, so the society and politicians are not interested to each other. In the next five years economic challenges require responses from everybody. Such opinions were articulated in a regular issue of the Amplituda program by Valery Kalinousky (Radio Svaboda), Elena Artemenko (BISS) and Nikita Belyaev (Liberal Club).

Human Rights are Much Better Respected Here, in Belarus - New analytical resource IMHOClub.by posts an interview with a political refugee who returned to Belarus after 15-year living in the Czech Republic. The former publisher of the Belarusian opposition newspaper For Will, anarchist Yuri Puzikov tells "idleness in the EU simply killed him". As a result, he realised he wanted to be useful for his country and returned to Belarus to his girlfriend.

BISS Political Media Barometer (April-June 2015): The Media, But Not Politicians Set the Tone in the Coverage of Elections – Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) presents basic findings on media representation of political forces. Namely, elections much more influence on the communication of individual politicians than political forces. Leaders among politicians become Mikalai Statkevich, Tatiana Karatkevich (first presented in the ranking) and Anatoly Lebedko.

The 2015 Presidential Elections

Belarus 2015 elections: A cautious rapprochement with the WestAlena Kudzko, the Central European Policy Institute (CEPI), considers that the instability in Ukraine, Russia’s increasing pressure to permit it to station its military airbase in Belarus, and the drastic worsening of the economic situation in the country are all factors that may motivate the Belarusian government to seek geopolitical and policy alternatives and new partners. The time is ripe for Europe to anchor a more pragmatic and realistic long-term approach to its notorious Eastern neighbour.

Same Old, Same Old? Belarus Votes – BISS senior analyst Dzianis Melyantsou together with a visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment and project director at Pact Balazs Jarabik prepared an article that analyses the presidential elections in Belarus. The authors believe that Belarus’s domestic situation and external environment have changed since the last elections in 2010. The 2015 electoral process, warts and all, shows how the Belarusian regime is attempting to adapt to these changes, while trying to keep the Soviet-style state machinery going.

Elections–2015: An illusion of unity before reforms start? – In its analysis of post-election situation, BISS warns that one should not expect the newly reelected president to implement large-scale structural reforms, contrary to what the West would like to see in Belarus. Only sporadic point transformations will be a lot likelier in the areas, which cannot do without changes, and where such modifications will have no political impact on the authorities. These conclusions are supported by Alexander Lukashenka’s recent statement against radical reforms.

Upcoming Events

Support for Reform is Important Not Only for Democracy, It is Not Accidental that Authoritarian Systems are Populist – Why developing countries are so vulnerable to a global financial crisis, why reforms need a "guillotine" and what errors are made by reformers – these issues are raised by Marek Dąbrowski, one of the speakers of the Kastryčnicky Economic Forum, KEF (3-4 November, Minsk), in his interview to TUT.BY. Marek Dąbrowski, a senior fellow of the Centre for Social and Economic Research CASE, worked in the Polish reformatory government of Leszek Balcerowicz.

To be Successful, Reforms Need a Strong Political Leader. A Belief in Wide Discussions and Consensus is a Myth – Ivan Mikloš, a Slovak politician and the former Minister of Finance of Slovakia, is known as "father of the Slovak reforms". Ivan Mikloš goes to Minsk for the first time to participate in the Kastryčnicky Economic Forum, KEF, and tells in his interview for TUT.BY, what determines the success of the reforms, if there is a risk of political suicide for the main reformer and why this issue is not necessary to consult with the people.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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