Thursday 17 January 2019 | 18:11

How Belarusans consolidated

01.10.2015  |  Society   |  Alena Barel,  EuroBelarus
How Belarusans consolidated photo by "EuroBelarus" Information Service

The presentation of results of “The potential of solidarity of the Belarusian society” took place in Minsk on September 29.

The authors of the sociological research – the Center for European Transformation and Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) – have studied factors and potential of solidarity in our society. The empirical base for CET and BISS research is a sociological survey conducted in late May-early June 2015.

The research continues the one conducted 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. The sociological survey representative for the population of Belarus was conducted by “NOVAK”.

What can unite and mobilize the activity of Belarusan citizens (for the sake of what are they ready to get united and to act extensively)? Who (what social groups, strata, communities) is the most capable of demonstrating solidarity and organizing solidarity actions? Researchers tried to get the answers to these and other questions.

The main aim of the research was 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, moderator of the presentation, senior analyst with the Center for European Transformation. In this regard, the subject of our research is the solidarity potential.

Do Belarusan citizens trust social institutes and communities? According to Andrei Yahorau, the head of the Center for European Transformation, we witness a crisis of trust. The research demonstrated that for Belarusans trust is locked within the close circle of friends and relatives. In all hard situations people rely on personal ties rather than state and public institutions. Accordingly, the latter don’t play much role in the life of Belarusans. And only law enforcement officials cause some trust among some Belarusans.

What group in the society Belarusans associate themselves with? What do they mean when saying “we”? As Elena Artemenko, BISS analyst, told, the leader as for the identification frequency is the group “With family and close friends” — 77% of respondents feel affinity with them.

Whereas people with secondary, not higher education, are more likely to associate themselves with Belarusan citizens, with “different groups of national and civic identity”, the analyst emphasized.

All group identities, offered in the research, are outshined by family, which proves that the potential for solidarisation among Belarusans is quite low, noted Elena Artemenko. Second by popularity group after family is the group of fellow-minds – people with similar beliefs.

Tatsiana Vadalazhskaja, a senior analyst of the Center for European Transformation, PhD in sociology told about the potential of solidarity as similarity in evaluation of significant “objects”. People can share these semantic fields, but can also have absolutely different ones, explained the researcher. The following significant political events were offered for evaluation: events of “national pride” - March 25th, July 3rd, Belarus and Europe, Ukraine and Russia, human rights and stability, and two social stances with different value orientations – a businessman and an official. After that researchers tried to pick out groups that have close evaluations, i.e. solidary groups.

A number of these objects have disintegrating potential.

"First of all, Ukraine. It results in such a variation of evaluations that it becomes almost impossible to say that people can gather together, - said Vadalazhskaja. – Obviously, active rethinking is going on, and Ukraine today is an object that causes confusion”.

Second unexpected moment was “official”, which divided all respondents into 6 groups with absolutely different evaluations. Citizens show no anonymity when it comes to officials.

There are two more objects that have disintegrating potential – “human rights” and “Europe”.

What has a consolidating potential for citizens? Evaluations “Russia” divide all respondents into two almost equal parts: those, who haven’t decided on their attitude towards Russia and active supporters of Kremlin’s policy.

A positive image of “businessman” and positive date of “July 3rd” also consolidate Belarusans.

Belarusans are indifferent to the “Freedom Day” – “March 25th”. “Belarus” and “stability” caused emotions among small number of people. Thus, evaluations of the three above-mentioned objects prove the absence of potential.

All respondents have controversial feelings about “human rights”.

The research demonstrated that the majority of the suggested objects don’t have solidarity potential. The reason lies not only in contradictions of perception, but also in lack of emotions.

All respondents were divided into three groups of potential solidarity: “basis for Belarusan system”, “European renovation”, and “ignore”.

The scantiest group was the “European renovation” group – only 20.2% of Belarus’ population, who live according to European norms inside our country, locally forming a comfortable world.

The most numerous group is “ignore”: it includes about 41.2% respondents, who don’t care about the political life of the country, solidarity actions, and “Ploshcha”. 38.6% of the respondents are the “basis for Belarusan system”.

It is interesting that the “European renovation” group trusts state bodies, including militia and local authorities, the most. The respondents in this group took part in solidarity actions more often than two other groups and are more concerned with the problems of their cities and ecological problems.

However, neither the “European renovation” group not the “ignore” group have basis for consolidation, the researchers note. Whereas the “basis for Belarusan system” group is consolidated and has solidarity potential, focused on the production of the existing system.

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