The head of the project, Doctor of Political Sciences Ryhor Astapenia

, talks about the results of the June survey of the Belarusian Chatham House project on the Svaboda Premium channel .


  • Support for Russian actions in Ukraine is slowly decreasing

  • For a significant part of Belarusians, Russia is part of their identity and culture

  • Those who support Belarus' participation in the war do not particularly consider themselves Belarusians

  • Among the supporters of the protest, the largest share is those who feel their guilt for the war

  • Lukashenka's supporters do not feel responsible for the war, because they do not feel responsible for anything

  • In Facebook, the main topic is the Belarusian-Ukrainian hate, and in "UKontakte" - the death of Yury Shatunov

  • It is difficult to be during a war with both sides - your legs are stretched

  • The decrease in the number of supporters of Belarus in the CSTO is the result of the growing awareness that Russia is the source of problems in the military sphere.

  • For a significant part of Belarusian society, Belarus' membership in NATO is as radical an idea as same-sex marriage.

  • The ratings of the leaders of Ukraine, Russia, Poland, and Lithuania during the war grew wildly, Lukashenka's popularity also grew, but slightly

  • Belarusians have more or less accepted the fact that Lukashenka has stayed

  • The actions of both Tsikhanovskaya and Latushka are aimed at the active minority

— In June, the Chatham House Belarusian project conducted another online survey of the urban Belarusian population.

This survey was focused on studying the attitude of Belarusians to the war and to their country's place in the world.

Has the attitude of respondents to Russian policy in Ukraine changed?

What is the relationship between the attitude to the war and the attitude to the government and to Russia?

Grigor Astapenia

- We see a slow decline in support for Russia's actions: fewer people say that the independence of the "LDNR" should be recognized, fewer respondents are in favor of Belarus' participation in the CSTO, respondents are more favorable to the fact that the Belarusian military, if sent to fight, lay down its arms.

It's a rather slow process, but it's happening.

Those who are most friendly to Russia support its military actions to a greater extent.

Also, those who are most sympathetic to the Belarusian government are more inclined to support Russian behavior.

- But not everyone who sympathizes with Russia is for its war.

According to your survey, 71% of respondents have a positive and very positive attitude towards Russia.

And the Russian war is approved by only a third.

So this is less than half of the supporters of Russia.

- Yes, definitely.

Belarusians still do not perceive Russia only through these military actions.

They perceive it through their cultural and economic ties.

Those who support Russia's war have the greatest sympathy for it, some of them see Belarus as a part of Russia.

Those who want the participation of the Belarusian army in the war on the side of Russia are precisely those who want Belarus to disappear, to become part of the Russian Federation.

But a significant part of Belarusians have a good attitude towards Russia because it is part of their identity and culture.

They speak Russian, listen to Russian music, watch Russian TV series, communicate with the rest of the world in Russian.

Some of them read Meduza, listen to Russian liberals, and for them Russia is not only


- In all polls since the beginning of the war, you have asked the question about the desired role of Belarus in the war.

Now you asked about this role in retrospect and now.

During the three months of the war, a lot has changed - Russian troops from Belarus attacked Ukraine and then left, there was Bucha and Mariupol, there was an offensive of Russians in Donbass.

And why haven't the retrospective and actual benefits changed?

- This is the result of a real division of Belarusian society, which has been building for decades.

It is necessary to understand that different Belarusians live in different information spaces.

Lukashenka's supporters, those who watch the First Channel of Russian television, perceived Bucha completely differently than we do.

- But some perceived Bucha as a Russian war crime.

However, the number of those who support Belarus' support for Ukraine has not increased either.

Bucha did not mobilize new supporters of Ukraine.

- It is connected with the perception of our place in the world.

There are only 9 million of us.

Our resource is very small and it is exhaustive.

Russians can fight a lot and for a long time.

And we are not.

Those few who support Belarus' participation in the war do not particularly consider themselves Belarusians.

They have a logical chain: Russia is at war, Belarus is Russia, so why is it not at war?

This is the "Ruskomirov" core.

My colleagues and I often discuss whether the most important thing for Lukashenka's supporters is Russomirstva or Yabatkastan.

I have no answer to this question.

— Are Belarusians guilty of the war?

The majority answers in the negative.

And how are the answers to this question related to the attitude to power?

- Each segment has its own alibi from responsibility for the war.

Opponents of the government believe that Belarus is occupied by Russia, which can we bear responsibility?

But among them, among supporters of the protest and opponents of the government, the largest share of those who say that they feel their guilt for the war.

Among supporters of the government, almost everyone does not feel guilty.

And it's part of their social contract.

They are not responsible for the war, because they are not responsible for anything at all.

They transferred the rights of the sovereign to Lukashenka, and he decides.

The inconsistency and inconsistency of Lukashenka's statements also have an impact here.

If Lukashenka said that we are conducting this "special military operation" together with Russia, a larger part of his supporters would have the idea that they are part of this war.

But both Lukashenko and propaganda constantly say that we are a negotiating platform, that we are for peace.

They allegedly want to maintain a certain distance from the Russian position.

And it also affects the supporters of the regime in that they don't fully understand what the regime's war policy is.

- Since the beginning of the war, the attitude towards Russia has worsened, but then it stabilized, and with a rather high level of positive evaluations.

Why has the attitude towards other countries not changed significantly?

- Those who began to treat Russia or the West worse are a politicized part of society.

But the majority of society is not politicized.

It is definitely more politicized than in 2018-2019.

But the majority is not interested in politics.

And because it's dangerous, and because it doesn't affect anything now.

And from this follows an equal, rather positive, attitude towards foreign countries.

Why do Belarusians dislike, say, Lithuanians?

- Well, they stopped the transit of potassium, scold Lukashenka, warm up the opposition, they want to attack.

Isn't it?

- Belarusians hear this, but for them it is a good part of fiction.

There is a perception that it is in conflict with Lukashenko from abroad.

And at the human level, there is no equivalent to this foreignness.

- There are data from Ukrainian polls, according to which the attitude towards Belarus and Belarusians there has significantly worsened.

And why did it not worsen symmetrically in Belarus relative to Ukraine?

- Mainly politicized people participate in this mutual hatred.

Their society became politicized to a much greater extent because of the war.

My colleagues study topics of discussion in social networks.

According to them, lately one of the main topics on Facebook was this Belarusian-Ukrainian hate.

And in "UKontakte" the main topic was the death of

Yury Shatunov.

In our survey, 40% of respondents answered that the Russian army in Ukraine does not use weapons against civilians.

We analyzed these responses.

People understand that the Russian army, of course, does this.

But when you realize it, admit it, you have to look at Russia in a completely different way.

And some people simply hide in the shell of denial.

- Why did the supporters of integration with the Russian Federation grow in the dilemma between the Russian Federation and the European Union?

What does the sharp reduction of the group of those who are in favor of integration with both the Russian Federation and the European Union mean?

- There is a certain helplessness in the attitude towards Russia.

They believe that Russia is feeding them, that they cannot survive without Russia, that Lukashenka is needed in order not to destroy Russia.

For some enterprises, Russia is the only buyer of their products.

And the employees of such enterprises think that it is necessary to have good relations with Russia.

Therefore, even many of those who condemn Russia's military actions can be sympathetic to it, because they depend on it economically.

For some, the war sharpened the feeling that "we and the Russians are one nation."

Previously, a very popular answer was for integration with both the Russian Federation and the European Union.

About 40%, a relative majority, spoke in favor of it.

And now - 25%.

Reality shattered these hopes.

Being at war with both sides is difficult.

The chairs diverge.

There is an ad with

Claude van

Damme driving Volvo trucks that are breaking apart.

And he makes a twine between them.

But not everyone can do splits like van Dam.

- According to your survey, for the first time the number of supporters of Belarus' membership in the CSTO has fallen below 50%.

On the other hand, the number of supporters of Belarus' membership in NATO remained the same and very small.

In Ukraine, after the start of the war, pro-Nat sentiments increased sharply.

But not in Belarus.


— The decrease in the number of supporters of Belarus in the CSTO is the result of growing awareness that Russia is the source of problems in the military sphere.

And that's why there is a desire to be away from it.

Russia can fight for itself, but without us.

Belarus' membership in NATO appears to Belarusians to be too far from their reality.

In addition, there are quite strong anti-NATO sentiments in Belarus, which are broadcast on Russian television.

For a significant part of Belarusian society, Belarus' membership in NATO is as radical an idea as same-sex marriage.

- Recently, sociologist Philip Bikanov announced the data of sociological surveys, according to which there is an increase in trust in the government, in the regime.

Does your data support this?

— The results announced by


correspond to the trends we recorded in our surveys as well.

We showed that the support of the democratic forces decreased a little, Lukashenka's popularity increased a little.

This is a process that went on even before the war.

The war slightly pushed this process through the mechanism of "uniting around the flag".

Although this mechanism worked rather poorly for us.

We see what is happening in other countries.

The popularity of the leaders of all neighboring countries — Ukraine, Russia, Poland, Lithuania — grew like wildfire.

Lukashenka's popularity also grew, but slowly.

But it happened before - through a certain overcoming of the crisis of legitimacy.

People have more or less accepted the fact that he stayed.

In addition, some people left Belarus, which also affects the results.

This situation was partly the result of the policy of the democratic opposition.

They consciously focused on the active minority.

The actions of

Svetlana Tsikhanovskaya 's office and

Pavlo Latushka's

NAC were directed at her


Babarika's team,


of which is in prison, could not reach a majority.

Accordingly, the part of society that we call "neutrals" has been neglected by democratic politicians.

Some of them started to be more sympathetic to Lukashenka.

His support has grown, but that doesn't mean we're back in 2019.