Monday 6 December 2021 | 11:05

The potential of solidarity of the Belarusian society is vanishing

25.09.2015  |  Society   |  EuroBelarus Information Service,  
The potential of solidarity of the Belarusian society is vanishing

The Center for European Transformation (CET) and Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) continued studying the potential of solidarity – this time of the Belarusan society in general.

The empirical base for CET and BISS research is a sociological survey representative for the population of Belarus and conducted by “NOVAK” company in late May-early June 2015.

The research continues the one conducted by the Center for European Transformation and Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies last year, when research into “Belarusan organized civil society’s” solidarity potential was made, i.e. solidarity among leaders and activists of NGOs and civic initiatives. Both stages are conducted with the use of similar methods in order to provide compatibility of results.

The main aim of the research is to evaluate and interpret the potential of social and political solidarity in the Belarusan society. The important characteristic of solidary actions is their situational (one-time) nature, i.e. solidarity appears and can be secured in some concrete manifestation but not as regular occupation and work or permanent feature of this or that community, group, society, - explained Oksana Shelest, senior analyst with the Center for European Transformation to the “EuroBelarus” Information Service. – That’s why the object of research is the potential of solidarity, by which we understand the quality of connections and relations between people that enables us to do solidary actions in the social and political sphere and forms the basis for demonstrating solidarity”.

The research was grounded on the following “dimensions”, which can explain the potential of solidarity”:

a) similarity vs. difference in perception and evaluation of significant social and political objects and potential objects of demonstrating solidarity;

b) identification and feeling as a part of a certain social group;

c) the relation of trust vs. distrust to groups, people, and social institutes.

“Besides, we were trying to study and analyze a number of factors that (might) have influence on the potential of solidarity and its real demonstrations. It is communicative behavior and strategies (sources of information that people use; a field where people discuss these or that problems, agenda that concerns them, etc.); some experience of participation in any solidary, common actions, initiatives or events; mobility (both professional, working, and territorial), experience in realization of independent initiatives in business or public activity and so on”, - noted Oksana Shelest.

As Andrei Yahorau, the head of the Center for European Transformation, reminded, the former research showed that the potential of solidarity inside civil society is quite low: “We can’t expect some mass solidarity from civil society, some common actions of social and political nature related to the values that seem to be shared among civil society; such as, for example, human rights – this category rather disunites the participants of the civil society than unites them and motivated for solidary actions”.

We used the same methodology for evaluating the potential of solidarity in general. And it turned out that the Belarusan society is even more amorphous than the Belarusan civil society. It is even more divided, more atomized; it is much harder to find some clusters of potentially solidary groups in it”, - said Andrei Yahorau.

According to Andrei Yahorau, “unfortunately, the research showed that there are no objects in the mass conscience of the society that would consolidate Belarusan society; mass conscience sees no guiding lines in the form of opinion leaders”.

“Of course, it presents civil society in a better light; on the other hand, if we would evaluate the potential of civil society’s solidarity as a low one, then the potential of solidarity of the Belarusan society is lower than low. We believe that this situation is related to a number of social diseases our society is going through, such as distribution of paternalism, orientation towards authorities that will resolve our problems for us, aversion of resolving problematic issues through public institutions that are designed specially for that and use of personal connections instead, which causes corruption and so on. I think that the research discloses some reasons that stand behind those social diseases that modern Belarus suffers from”, - assumes Andrei Yahorau.

Elena Artemenko, BISS analyst, notes that “we considered person’s affiliation with certain social communities and identification with diverse groups as one of the grounds for support, mutual help, and solidarity”.

Researchers suggested the following groups:

1) communities of various scales (from primary to the largest ones: with one’s family

and close friends; with inhabitants of one’s city (village); with people of the same nationality; with all

people on the planet);

2) groups of social and demographic features (age, profession, sufficiency);

3) groups of national and civic identity;

4) political-ideological axiological identifications (with those who share the same beliefs and points of view; with those who share the same political positions; with those who are not interested in politics; with those who are sure that nothing depends on their actions; with those who do not wait for manna from heaven, but create their own destiny and life; with those who have not lost their faith in the future).

As it turned out, the leader as for the identification frequency is the group “With family and close friends” — 77% of respondents feel affinity with them.

Let us recall that the presentation of results of the research “The potential of solidarity of the Belarusian society” will take place on September 29 in the cultural center “Studio67” (Minsk, Partyzanski avenue, 2) from 6 to 8 p.m.

You can confirm your participation in the event as well as ask additional question by writing to cet.eurobelarus@gmail.com.

Please also follow the news of the event on Facebook (in Russian).

Other news section «Society»

What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
What actually the State List of Historical and Cultural Values gives to Belarusan Heritage Sites?
The Belarus Committee of ICOMOS announces the collection of cases on the effectiveness of the State List of Historical and Cultural Values as a tool of the safeguarding the cultural monuments.
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
The right to heritage according to the standards of the Faro Convention: is it possible in Belarus?
On March 27-28, the Belarus ICOMOS and the EuroBelarus held an online expert workshop on expanding opportunities for community participation in the governance of historical and cultural heritage.
“It is our big joint work”
“It is our big joint work”
It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The Forum was devoted not so much to the outputs as to the challenges and prospects after the creation and signing of local agendas.
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
In Stoubcy, they talked about universal design and conducted pilot monitoring of two urban sites accessibility.
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
"Specificity is different, but the priority is general." In Valożyn, a local strategy for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
The campaign "Agenda 50" was summed up in Ščučyn, and a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed there.
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
The regional center has become the second city in Belarus where the local plan for the implementation of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
Representatives of the campaign “Agenda 50” from five pilot cities discussed achievements in creating local agendas for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
It is noteworthy that out of the five pilot cities, Stoubcy was the last to join the campaign “Agenda 50”, but the first one to complete the preparation of the local agenda.
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
On May 28, the city hosted a presentation of the results of the project "Equal to Equal" which was dedicated to monitoring the barrier-free environment in the city.
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
In Babruysk, wheelchair users are fighting discrimination.
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
Experts in Valožyn have determined that the quality of people’s life depends on their awareness.
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
On March 3, members of the campaign "Agenda 50" from different Belarusian cities met in Minsk. The campaign is aimed at the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
There are being implemented three projects under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities campaign in the city of Babruysk.
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
In Stolin, social organizations and local authorities are implementing a project aimed at independent living of persons with disabilities, and creating local agenda for the district.
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Will creation of local agendas be an effective tool in ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Belarus, just as it was in Poland?
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

“It is our big joint work”

It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.

Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf

Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.

Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool

To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.