Over the past year, the number of supporters of the Belarus-Russia union has decreased from 60,4% to 40,4%, aсcording to a recent survey published by belstat.eu.
The Belarusian analytical association conducted a study in December 2019. Among the respondents were the people from different regions, both urban and rural, of Belarus. The data revealed the following: the percentage of sympathizers of the union with Russia has decreased from 60,4 to 40,4%.
“Thus, if a referendum on the geopolitical choice of Belarus were held these days, the union supporters could not gain the absolute majority, the report explains,” the study explains.
In September-December 2019, pro-Russian sentiments weakened its position – the number of supporters of the union decreased by 14,7% in four months (from 54.8% to 40.4%). At the same time, pro-European sentiments intensified: the number of supporters of joining the EU increased from 24.4% to 32%.
Integration and protests
This is explained by the peak of integration negotiations and related protests in Belarus. In September 2019, the two countries agreed on a draft action plan for further integration and a list of roadmaps.
In October and November, the content of the maps was discussed. The documents were expected to be signed by the heads of state in December, however, it never happened. In December, a number of pro-independence rallies took place in Minsk and other Belarusian cities.
The vast majority of Belarusians – 74.6% – believe that Belarus and Russia should remain fully independent states, but have friendly relations, an open border, no visa and customs control.
Meanwhile, 6.6% of respondents believe that relations with Russia should not differ from relations with other countries – that is, there should be a closed border, customs and visa controls.
12.8% of interviewees are in favour of Belarus’ and Russia’s unifying into a union state and only 3.7% are supportive of Belarus’ joining the Russian Federation.
“There had never been anything like that before. A reason for such a plunge is of media nature. The truth is that Belarusian mass media have changed their tone when reporting about Russia and Belarus-Russia relations. The tone has become more negative,” Andrey Vardamatski, Head of the Belarusian Analytical Association commented on the situation.
The expert believes that a gradual rollback is possible, however, it will be quite difficult to carry out. “After all, a certain slide in pro-Russian sentiments is seen to be on-trend.”
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